Remembering Our Friend
Army Sgt. Zachary D. Tellier, 31, a paratrooper assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade Combate Team, Charlie Troop, 82nd Airborn Division, Fort Bragg, NC, died September 29, 2007 of wounds suffered from small arms fire at Firebase Wilderness, Afghanistan. Zach put himself in harm's way to assist a friend pinned down by enemy fire. These last moments of his life were exemplary of the way he acted, not just in the Army, but in his personal life as well.
I admire and respect Zach's dedication and service in the Army, but in my heart he is still our buddy who was up for road trips, bbqs, concerts, mechanical bull riding, scavenger hunts and other adventures. I can see him shouting and laughing getting sprayed by mud and trying not to bounce out of the back of Shawn's S10 pick up truck as we 4wheeled under the powerlines. He was smart and clever and fun. He was funny as hell (and let's not kid ourselves- could be moody as hell sometimes as well). He was liked by everyone because he was a real person, a stand up guy and a good friend to so many. Everyone was psyched when Zach showed up. At his memorial service, so many people shared how he had touched their lives for the better. He is missed terribly.
To honor Zach, his family began collecting funds for the Fisher House Foundation in his name. The Fisher House Foudation is a four-star rated charity that benefits soldiers and their families during a medical crisis. It was the hope of Zach's family and friends that, through these donations, Zach's kind and generous nature would live on. To continue these efforts, Team ZDT was born. Team ZDT will run it's 5th Army 10 Miler through Washington DC this October. In the previous four Army 10 Milers with Team Fisher House, Team ZDT has raised over $20,000 for the Fisher House Foundation! It is your support that keeps Zach's light shining- both through the generous donation to his fellow soldiers as well as through the stories and memories of Zach that come out as this campaign is shared and circulated.
Below is an example of a family helped by the Fisher House Foundation.
Senior Master Sergeant Richard (Joe) Chwalik was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during a deployment to Afghanistan. But it was the birth of his son, Jeremy, that brought Fisher House into his life.
When Jeremy was born, the Chwaliks were a dual-military couple stationed in Ramstein, Germany. His mom, Erika, knew there were going to be complications when he was born, but not the extent. The base hospital wasn’t equipped to deal with Jeremy’s two congenital heart issues, a club foot, and Down syndrome. He needed specialty pediatric care that meant leaving his dad and brother in Germany, while he and his mom came back to the States for his medical treatment.
Within hours of his birth, Jeremy and his mom were on a military cargo plane headed to Washington, D.C. , After settling Jeremy into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Erika headed to the Fisher House.
This would be the first of many stays at a Fisher House for the Chwalik family, as little Jeremy received treatment as a newborn, and again four years later when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Since Jeremy’s birth five years ago, the Fisher House has been a saving grace when we least expected it,” said Erika. “Fisher House allows you to have a normal life in an abnormal circumstance.”
You can help military and veterans’ families, like the Chwalik’s, feel that sense of normality when they need it most, during a medical crisis.
Donate with confidence: Fisher House has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator 15 years in a row and an A+ rating from CharityWatch/American Institute of Philanthropy.
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