“I just want to let people know that Greg Zanis loves them”


“I just want to let people know that Greg Zanis loves them”

Since ’70s, he’s made wooden crosses for lives lost

— now 49 more –

49 crosses


After working all night in Orlando, Zanis will go to Charleston, S.C., to commemorate the one-year anniversary of

the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting that left nine people dead.

“I just want to let people know that Greg Zanis loves them,” he said. “It is an act of Christian love.

Even though some of these people might not be Christians,

I have never been turned back.”

He handmade all the crosses in his garage workshop.

Each cross  is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide


has a victim’s name and a large red wooden heart.

All the lumber is donated. 

The Orlando project is the biggest memorial he has ever made.

“When you see all these lined up, it will be like

‘Oh my God’

and they will see the severity of what happened,”

Zanis said.

Zanis has crisscrossed the country through the years, going to Aurora, Colo., after the movie theater shooting in 2012.

In 2013, he went to Boston after the marathon bombing.

Fifteen years ago he was in Columbine,

Colo. Zanis said he gets satisfaction from showing people how to love.

Zanis has been making memorial crosses since the 1970s when a neighbor asked him to make one for her son.

A carpenter by trade, Zanis returned in an hour with a cross.

Based on his own estimation, Zanis has made over 12,000 memorials since then.

Man Travels From Illinois To Orlando And Builds Special Memorial

June 16, 2016 5:50 PM


Amidst all the pain and suffering in Orlando

there are many signs of hopefulness and love.

One of those signs can be seen in the form of 49 wooden crosses.

Greg Zanis’ hands are full with wooden crosses that he made for each of the 49 Pulse nightclub shooting victims.

His heart is full too, of hope

“My message today is love your bother, love your neighbor.

Don’t judge them,”

said Zanis.

Zanis drove 1,200 miles from Illinois to place the crosses

along a lake outside the Orlando Health Medical Center.

He’s traveled to the scene of many tragedies.

“I went to Newtown put up 26 there,”

he said.

Wherever there is a mass murder, Zanis tries to show up days later.

49 crosses

He hopes his crosses give people a place to share a message and offer their personal condolences.


“Wait until you see these in a week,”

he said.

“You won’t even see the heart.

It’ll be a major focal point.”

His generosity and caring touched those who witnessed his act of kindness.

Zanis said his father-in law was murdered 20 years ago

and since that he day he stopped building houses

and started building crosses.

He believes they’re a symbol of something this community needs right now.

“Just offering hope in a very hopeless situation,”

he said.

Zanis told CBS4’s Carey Codd that

after people have a chance to sign the crosses and leave their condolences

he plans to give the crosses to each of the victims’ families.