Dunedin family remembers their fallen hero - WFLA News Channel 8

Dunedin family remembers their fallen hero

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Zack Shannon's brother, Robert Mirrione Zack Shannon's brother, Robert Mirrione
Zack Shannon's parents, Kimberly and Chip Allison Zack Shannon's parents, Kimberly and Chip Allison
Zack Shannon's family Zack Shannon's family
Family military memory wall Family military memory wall
Zack Shannon's brothers:  Joe Mirrione, Steven Shannon, Robert Mirrione Zack Shannon's brothers: Joe Mirrione, Steven Shannon, Robert Mirrione
DUNEDIN, FL -

A Dunedin high school graduate is being remembered as a hero.  21-year-old Army Specialist Zack Shannon was killed in Afghanistan early this week in a helicopter crash.  Zack Shannon comes from a long line of military members.

His grandfather, father, and three brothers all served.  As they mourn they understand the sacrifice he gave, and they are immensely proud of him.  Step inside Zack Shannon's house and you can't help but notice a shrine to the family business.  Along a wall you'll find a number of photographs of men in uniform- representing three generations of service members.

Whenever these family members come home, they're reminded of their proud military legacy, but unfortunately one member of the bunch- Zack Shannon, won't be coming back.  His father Chip Allison said, "Zack was killed doing what he wanted to do and where he wanted to be."

Shannon was a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic, serving in Afghanistan.  His mother Kimberly Allison said, "His thing was 'I'm not afraid to go over, he never showed fear."  Earlier this week he and four others were killed when their helicopter crashed.

Military officials say the helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, and there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident.  It's now under investigation.

Two military officers delivered the news on Tuesday.  "You walk in, you look at them, you just want to say, 'Go away' and maybe it would make it go away, but I knew," said Kimberly. "The image of those uniforms will be stuck in my mind forever 'cuz I knew what it was."

The family thought of the possibility of losing him, but never believed it would actually happen.  Zack's brother, Sgt. Steven Shannon said, "I always had the image in my mind, ‘What am I gonna do if one of my brothers goes?' And you can't really put much thought into it because you never think it's gonna happen….whatever you prepare for, nothing is ever gonna be good enough."

Their caring, fun-loving, Tampa Bay sports fanatic was gone.  Chip said, "Would I do anything to go back a week? Yeah, obviously yes. But on the same hand, Zack's the hero to his family, the community and everybody. He was where he wanted to be."

This family is now broken, but together they're staying strong -knowing their courageous son died serving his nation and doing what he loved.  The family will be holding a memorial service for Zack on March 24th at the VFW in Dunedin.

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