A man who made more than 27,000 crosses to commemorate the shooting victims in the country has announced that he is retiring.
“I had a break point in El Paso,” he said in reference to the shooting outside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. “I had not been sleeping for two days, we were at 106 degrees and I fainted from the pressure when I heard there were two more victims of the shooting.”
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Zanis mounted crosses after the shootings at Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland schools. He also placed crosses after the shooting at the Las Vegas music festival and another at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
“I leave behind a piece of my heart every time I go,” said Zanis.
In 2016, the artist made more than 700 crosses that were loaded along Michigan Avenue in Chicago to remind each person who was killed that year.
A few months ago, Zanis had to make crossings for his own city when an employee of Henry Pratt Co. opened fire on his colleagues.
“After Orlando, it never stopped,” Zanis emphasized about the shootings. “The country had me traveling every week for a while. I have driven 850,000 miles to place crossings. I slept in my van and never had the money to pay what I did. ”
With occasional donations, Zanis rather relied on his own resources to build the crosses.
“At one time last year, I was indebted with $ 10,000 and someone paid that for me,” he said. “Now I have $ 14,000 in debt.”
Zanis hopes to pass his work to the Charities of the Lutheran Church in Northbrook, a non-profit organization that uses dogs to reassure people.
“I feel that it is not the end of this task. It’s the end of me doing it, ”he said.