Texas A&M remembers Zac Cook - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Texas A&M remembers Zac Cook

Zac Cook and Jill Whitfield.  "Zac was loved and respected by all who knew him at A&M.  Much love & our prayers go out to the Cook family."  Photo courtesy Laura Whitfield. Zac Cook and Jill Whitfield. "Zac was loved and respected by all who knew him at A&M. Much love & our prayers go out to the Cook family." Photo courtesy Laura Whitfield.
Zac Cook honored by peers.  "He was the epitome of good," said fellow Texas A&M Corps member Jake Kilgore. Zac Cook honored by peers. "He was the epitome of good," said fellow Texas A&M Corps member Jake Kilgore.

By Donna McCollum

Note:  Funeral services for Zac Cook who died in a helicopter crash on Monday, January 12, 2009 on the Texas A&M campus are have been scheduled for Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in downtown Lufkin. Wake Services will be held Friday, January 16, 2009 at 5 p.m. at Gibson Funeral Home. 

COLLEGE STATION, TX (KTRE) - The Black Hawk helicopter sits in the Duncan Field where it fell.  A stark reminder of a tragedy that took an Aggie with a dream. Zac's friends leave posters of parting words and flowers to pay tribute to the December graduate.  Rachel Parham knew him through his devoted brother, David. "They were best buds. David was very proud of Zac. Talked about him all the time. And then you know, obviously very proud of him," said a tearful Parham.  

The camaraderie is expected from the various Corps branches, but Zac has even more Aggie family. As thousands of students start returning for next week's classes there will be a second round of loss felt on the A & M campus. University spokesman, Sherylon Carroll commented, "There's a sense of loss, particularly a tragic accident that occurred on our campus. We do pull together. We are a family. We do mourn together."

The Cook family is also receiving support from the military. A casualty assistance officer is offering the Cooks a military funeral and preparing them for the mountains of paper work that will soon set before them. Another military responsibility is to learn why the chopper went down in the first place. "Right now there's a team inbound from the U. S. Army Combat Readiness Center. They're in Fort Rucker. They're going to be participating in leading that investigation," explained Capt. Adam Collett, spokesperson for Texas Military Forces.

Right now, those who knew Zac are reflecting on the lieutenant's short, but fulfilling life. One thing is certain. Zac Cook had good times at Texas A & M, from hanging out with friends in the quad to attending classes designed to help him in a future career. A career that would definitely involve flying." 'Aggie Had Dream of Flying' is the title of an article posted at the crash site. Someone's reminder that Zac was doing what he loved best. "Zac was doing exactly what he loved doing. I guess that's the best way you can go," said Parham. Friends say they can only imagine how far Zac would have gone in his military career.

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