Back in November 2017, after Rockford Police Officer Jaimie Cox lost his life in the line of duty, a Rockton resident named Kathy Foster-Ignatchuk (Gustafson) made it her mission to deliver a memorial cross made by Greg Zanis of Aurora, IL for Officer Cox to Rockford.

In the past years Kathy had developed a special relationship with Greg Zanis from Crosses for Losses, and she was devastated upon hearing he died last week after a battle with bladder cancer. Before his death, Greg Zanis showed Kathy how to make his memorial crosses, and now she is on a mission again to continue Zanis' legacy of love.

Kathy is working to create crosses to honor every life lost to COVID-19 in Winnebago County, and she will be placing this memorial of crosses at a prominent place in the Stateline when finished. She has the City of Rockford's approval, and now she needs our help to fulfill the mission.

Kathy sent me a message on Facebook last week detailing what she is working on, and the help she would love to get from Rockford residents. Some of the things she needs to construct the crosses are:

  • 4x4 boards
  • 3/4" thick wood boards
  • Red, white and blue outdoor paint
  • Black, thick tip Sharpies
  • Nails, screws and staples for a staple gun

Several local contractors have already stepped up to help Kathy in her mission, and she has told me she would like learn to do the majority of the construction herself, but any woodworking expertise, help cutting and donations of materials would be greatly appreciated.

If you are a family member of someone who lost their life to COVID-19, and you would like to make sure a memorial cross has been made in their memory, please send the name to or you can call her at 815-721-0254.

You guys, Kathy Foster-Ignatchuk (Gustafson) truly has a heart of gold. She is determined to selflessly give her time and money to honor her friend Greg Zanis and every life lost to COVID-19 in Winnebago County. She is doing this to provide;

A silent, but I think would be a powerful reminder of we are all in this together and will give some physical form to those lives lost; give some form of comfort to those that have lost a loved one and yet can't find closure; give them a place to mourn them, even if for the moment.

Kathy, God Bless you for doing this. The Stateline is lucky to have you as a resident, and I am lucky to call you a friend.

One last thing I have to mention because it gave me the goosies. Over the weekend Kathy sent me a picture of the cross that has been placed in Las Vegas to honor Greg Zanis as thanks for the 58 crosses he made to honor the lives lost during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in 2017. Kindness matters, and will always be remembered. Rest in peace, Greg Zanis. You will be greatly missed by this entire nation.

Provided photo
Provided photo

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