Man Travels 1,200 Miles To Deliver 49 Handmade Crosses For Orlando Victims

“My message today is love your brother, love your neighbor."

One man felt moved to honor the victims of the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub earlier this month.

Greg Zanis drove 1,200 miles to deliver 49 crosses -- one for each victim of the Pulse nightclub tragedy -- to Orlando. The 65-year-old built each cross himself, and said that it was his way of commemorating those who died while illustrating an important lesson, CBS Miami reported. 

“My message today is love your brother, love your neighbor. Don’t judge them,” he said, according to NBC Miami.  

The devoted man traveled from his home in Illinois and placed the crosses outside the Orlando Health Medical Center, according to CBS Miami. On each cross is the name of a victim along with a red wooden heart. There are also markers at the base of the crosses for people to share messages of love and support. 

Zanis, who made the crosses from donated lumber in his garage workshop, got right to work shortly after tragedy struck, according to NBC Miami. 

"I started Sunday right after church and I worked until midnight. So that was a short day. Just building," he said. 

The 65-year-old received praise from passersby for the work and even got a shout-out from Florida governor Rick Scott for the kind act. 

Zanis, whose own father-in-law died from a gunshot wound, has made similar tributes for victims of other tragedies and made trips to the various areas where those tragedies took place, CNN reported. Many of the crosses have been for victims of gun violence.

Zanis built crosses for those who died in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting and had them placed across the movie theater where the shooting occurred. And following the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Zanis built 26 crosses for the victims. He's also paid tribute to the victims of the Boston bombing and the Columbine school shooting among many more, the Tennessean reported. The crosses for Orlando, however, are the 65-year-old's largest memorial project thus far. 

The Orlando crosses, Zanis told CBS Miami, will eventually be gifted to victims' families. 



Orlando Shooting Victims