uplifting

Retired Carpenter Built 20,000 Crosses For The Dead. Stranger Leads Him Outside And He Loses It

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. She loves viral videos, her poodle mix Cali, and doing the robot.

Greg Zanis, a 66-year-old retired carpenter from Aurora, Illinois knows all about tragedy firsthand. In 1996, he found his dearly beloved father-in-law murdered at the bottom of a staircase. The horrific loss changed Greg’s life forever. That same year, a little boy from his community lost his life to gang-related gunfire. Greg put his carpentry skills to use and built a three-foot-cross in honor of the boy, then hand-delivered it to his grieving mother.

This small gesture of compassion turned into something so much greater. For the past 20 years, Greg has traveled all across the country to deliver handmade wooden crosses to the sites of the country’s greatest tragedies in an effort to memorialize the victims.

Greg has built about 20,000 wooden crosses in total: 13 following the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School; 12 for the victims of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado; 49 following the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando… and the list goes on and on.

Days after the the Route 91 Harvest Concert in Las Vegas — the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history — Greg spent nearly 80 hours building crosses for the 58 victims. He kindness has not gone unnoticed and his story has been shared by outlets all over the world. But in the wake of the Vegas shooting, the gift given to him by the FOX5 Surprise Squad was unlike anything Greg had received before.

Watch the video below to see the tear-jerking surprise in store for Greg, a deserving hero in the face of seemingly endless tragedy.

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