Tearful candlelight vigil for Zack Salmon - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Tearful candlelight vigil for Zack Salmon

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

HEBRON, KY (FOX19) - It was a sad and emotional Tuesday night for sure in Boone County. Folks lit candles, they said prayers and spoke about all the good ways Private First Class Zack Salmon impacted, not only his family, but those in his US Army battalion.

Plenty of tears shed on Dacey Court in Hebron, Kentucky.

"Oh God!," cried out the mother of a fallen soldier. Perhaps no one understands more than his grieving mother Renee, the heartbreak of losing a son so young and too soon.

"Thank you so much," she cried. "I just don't have the words, thank you so much, my son would love this, thank you!"

She thanked the crowd for coming, with her sorrowful cries being echoed by the dozens who packed a candlelit cul-de-sac in Hebron, to honor 21-year-old Zack Salmon.

"My brother," his sister Kaitlin Maurer paused. "A very funny man, he just wanted to make people laugh and he was a very vibrant man and a good guy."

There were plenty of photos of his handsome face smiling, in happier times with his sisters and brother and hugging his loving mother.

"He was excited but nervous at the same time," said girlfriend Rebecca Garrett, who saw him just before he left for boot camp. Zack joined the US Army in March 2010 and was deployed in September.

He died in Afghanistan last Wednesday

"Just me and the older sister Kelsi were home and we got a knock on the door and didn't know who it was," Garrett said. "I went downstairs and opened the door and didn't say a word because I knew exactly from just those two soldiers standing there."

Zack was a gunner for his US Army Unit. His armored vehicle attacked by gunfire.

"We just really thank you for everything," Maurer said. "All the soldiers out there, for the fallen and those still up fighting."

Maurer said Zack considered his service his calling in life.

"The reason he actually went into the Army, was for his son," she said. "He wanted a better life for him."

He is survived by a 3-year-old son named Noah, who lives in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where Zack had lived since he was a teenager.

"So that you'll be with little Noah," a man asked the group to pray, so they did for Noah and for all those grieving.

"That you'll bury deep in his heart, and in his life, the memory of his dad," the man named Mark prayed.

A neighbor wrapped their yard in yellow ribbons and American flags.

"It was just a very nice, and sweet thing that they did for us," Maurer.

And that is just another example of how the community is wrapping their arms around Zack's family and supporting them.

Visitation is Thursday morning at 10am at the Fitch-Denney Funeral Home in Lawrenceburg. The funeral is Friday at St. Lawrence Catholic Church. Salmon will be buried in Aurora, Indiana. 

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