A firefighters makeshift memorial defaced - a family in tears. Making a plea with the public so they can know more and prevent it from happening again. The makeshift memorial is on Elgin Boulevard - a residential street with only private communities nearby in Spring Hill. The family says they are horrified and that this isn't the first time this has happened. About 20 makeshift memorials have been put up over the past three years - now the family asks who and why.
"Here we are today - second steel cross stolen - we planted one about a year and half ago," said Helen Gennusa.
And then another this week on the three year anniversary of Michael Gennusa's death. His life was cut short when he veered off this road and crashed.
"He was a firefighter - paramedic. He put his life on the line everyday for total strangers..." But now the family says a stranger is adding insult to injury. "And someone can't even leave a cross or a teddy bear?"
Mrs. Gennusa said, "When the first cross was gone - we went to a welding company and they built us a magnificent cross." Mr. Gennusa in tears said " ... that's the nicest thing this man every did." But then someone else does the most insulting thing.
" I had 300 pounds of concrete attached to the first cross - someone ripped it out, dragged it to a truck and dumped it in the woods," said Gennusa. Then again. This time - the steel was severed. Amax Welding - who made the cross - told the family they'd do it again. "That made me feel very good ..." Mrs. Gennusa said.
Until that happens - the family knows their son's memory lives on in a private memorial in their yard. "God has you in his keeping I have you in my heart," said Gennusa.
Hernando Sheriff's Deputies say there are no laws on the books about this. It's a grey area. They do say the only way to really protect a memorial is to get the DOT to make it official.