Friends and family remember Zac Cook

By: Coleman Swierc - email / bio

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the picturs of Zac Cook pictures speak a lifetime, a lifetime of respect.

"He was the epitemy of good," said fellow Texas A&M Corps member Jake Kilgore.

High school classmate Hall Henderson said, "If a 23 year old could be like John Wayne, then that is what Zac was."

A December graduate of Texas A&M, Cook was killed Monday, when the helicopter he was in crashed.

But friends and family say, he was happiest, in the air.

"He went out the way he wanted to go," said Cook's older brother, 2nd Lt. David Cook, "he was in a helicopter, and he loved it, he loved to fly, and it was his passion, it is what he wanted to do."

"He never got the chance to pilot a helicopter, but he went down in one, and he dreamed about being able to do that," said Henderson.

Friends and family described Cook as quiet, but he was still named Mr. Personality at Lufkin High School, a personality that won the respect of everyone he met.

"Whether you were a freshman, supposed to be picked on, he would make sure that you were all right," said Henderson.

"I can tell you numerous times that he was there for me," said Kilgore, "there was a guy picking on me on the quad one day, and he was on horseback, and he put a horse between me and the other guy, that is the type of guy Zac was."

Not only did Zac stand up for others, but others looked up to him, Zac lived every minute, to the max.

"We will smile to remember that he lived one heck of a life while he was here," said Henderson, "because he lived everyday, when he woke up at 3:30 to when he went to bed at midnight, to the fullest."

"He loved his parents, he loved his friends, and I could not think of any other way he would want to go out," said the elder Cook.

Zac Cook lived his life the way he wanted to, and while he will be missed, the legacy he left, will live on.

"People say that they want to grow up to be a firefighter, grow up to be a police man, a lot of people wanted to grow up to be like Zac Cook," said Kilgore.

"If you are a parent or a grandparent, you would hope that your son or grandson would be exactly like Zac Cook," said Henderson.

David Cook remembered his younger brother, "I am going to miss him, but I know that he was doing what he wanted to do."

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.