An Illinois man who became a fixture in the aftermath of numerous tragedies when he began crisscrossing the country and making wooden crosses more than two decades ago to honor the those who were killed is retiring, his daughter said Thursday.
“My dad Greg Zanis will no longer be doing his ministry Crosses For Losses. He will be retiring,” she wrote. “He asked me to thank everyone for their support.”
Zanis started making the crosses after his father-in-law was murdered in 1996. He has since placed more than 27,000 memorials for others who have been killed. He has honored victims of Chicago gun violence, mass shootings, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
Susie Zanis said her father’s work has taken “a huge toll on our family, from missing my dad and worrying about him while he was away to the financial burden it caused on our family.”
“I just feel it’s so important to be here for the families,” Greg Zanis had told Fox News from El Paso, days after a gunman killed 22 people inside a Walmart. “We’re talking about the gunman, but today it’s going to change — we’re going to start talking about the families and the victims.”
Susie Zanis said her father will focus on paying off the debt he’s accumulated over the years during his work.
“He has been funded through some of it; however, he has mostly used his own money to continue his ministry,” she wrote. “I am extremely proud of him for following his heart but I am more proud of him for realizing it is time for him to take a break and focus on himself.”