“It’s very private. I give a cross to the family, then make one for the lot. I know everyone’s got different homicide totals, and I’m not trying to get it exact. I’m just happy there’s 100 less this year,” Zanis says. “When families come for the vigil, I tell the young men, ‘I know what you’re thinking. If you go get whoever did this, I’ll be making a cross for you next.’ A lot of times, they get it.”
Zanis’ own family tragedy was the springboard for Crosses For Losses. His father-in-law was murdered by a burglar in 1996. Struggling to process the loss, he began attending a victim support group. When the grieving mother of a murdered 6-year-old asked Zanis to build her a cross, he did, eventually discerning his calling.
“I love what I do. If there’s a piece of plywood in the garage, I can’t sleep. I gotta cut it. In October, it came to me that from a unique viewpoint, I’ve seen the nation on its knees for more than 20 years now. It’s time to go to D.C. But this isn’t political. This is just about saying, ‘We remember.’ I’m bringing my father-in-law’s cross.”