Greg Zanis is a cross maker from Aurora, Illinois who has been going around the country for a while now to put markers on graves of victims of shootings. The gesture is not much but every cross he makes takes little out of his heart.
Don Forman is an owner of a United Nissan in Las Vegas and Tustin Nissan in California who has been there since the start of the Fox5 Surprise Squad, a program that helps unsuspecting families by providing them with what they need—whether it’s a house rehabilitation, furniture, education assistance, free cars, thanks for Forman.
When 64-year-old retiree Stephen Paddock, a former real estate businessman, opened fire at the 22,000-thick crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival from his hotel suite, it was inevitable that Zanis and Foreman’s path would cross.
Zanis had made it his life’s mission to do his part for the victim’s families by doing what he does best—making wooden crosses. He has been traveling all around the country, mostly using his own resources, to offer this small gesture. He buys from the local hardware store for the materials and offers the finished cross to the grief-stricken families.
The word of his good work spread organically. Today, Zanis gets a regular request to also build a Star of David for the Jewish victims.
He was there to offer his sympathies and crosses during the 10th anniversary of the Northern Illinois University shooting. He made crosses for the E2 club stampede that killed 21 people. He was there to offer crosses to the families of the 17 shooting victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. When he heard about
He immediately made the trip to Las Vegas when he knew about the Harvest festival shooting. Don Forman and the Fox5 Surprise Squad heard about Zanis’ generosity and they immediately went to work. They helped with the logistics and supplies so he could build more crosses and deliver them to the victim’s families.
Forman also gave Zanis a truck, which he now uses to drive around, several crosses on the bed and ready for delivery.
For his part, the car dealership owner ordered a halt in business as each employee was tapped to drive around people who want to donate blood for the injured victims of the Harvest festival or bring the victims to the hospitals for treatment. Aside from their respective philanthropies, both Forman and Zanis also shared a common trait—both are quick to deflect praise for the good work that they do. “It’s not about us but about the people whose lives are changed,” Forman says.