Greg Zanis, who built crosses, stars of David and other remembrances and personally drove them to sites of mass shootings and disasters throughout the nation, will soon need a cross of his own.
The Illinois man who brought comfort to tens of thousands of Americans during various tragedies is in the final stages of his life, according to his family.
His family is reporting that he is in home hospice care, after being diagnosed late last year with bladder cancer. They started a GoFundMe campaign and have been updating the page with videos and regular updates.
For 23 years, he built the crosses — along with stars of David for Jewish victims and crescent moons for Muslims — by hand.
“The whole country is made in the image of God,” he’d say.
He’d load them into the bed of his pickup, drive them to the latest calamity — to Columbine, Colorado, to Parkland, Florida, to Las Vegas, Nevada — and spend hours erecting them before driving home. About 21,000 of the white crosses, he estimates, were for shooting victims.
The rest were for victims of tornadoes, wildfires, plane crashes and other disasters.
Zanis was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1950 to a Greek Orthodox priest and Greek immigrant seamstress mom. His middle name, Steven, is Stavros in Greek– which means cross– a point he often made in media interviews.
A religious man, Zanis grew up Greek Orthodox and spent many years as a Baptist. He was always quick to chuckle about his delinquent days “smoking pot and sleeping in the van” in Key West and racing his Pontiac Trans Am in the cross-country Cannonball Run of Burt Reynolds fame.
Is The Pappas Post worth $5 a month for all of the content you read? On any given month, we publish dozens of articles that educate, inform, entertain, inspire and enrich thousands who read The Pappas Post. I’m asking those who frequent the site to chip in and help keep the quality of our content high — and free. Click here and start your monthly or annual support today. If you choose to pay (a) $5/month or more or (b) $50/year or more then you will be able to browse our site completely ad-free!