Funeral Friday in West Michigan for medic, 24, who died of injuries from Afghanistan accident
Spc. Zachary Shanafelt of Grand Rapids hurt last year, died Nov. 21 at Walter Reed Hospital
A funeral is being held in western Michigan for a 24-year-old Army medic who died from injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan.
Spc. Zachary Shanafelt of Grand Rapids was hurt in an accident last year and died Nov. 21 at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington.
His funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at Pederson Funeral Home in Rockford.
People holding American flags turned out along the motorcade route Thursday as his body was driven from Gerald Ford International Airport to the funeral home.
Survivors include wife Marina, 13-month-old son Daniel, parents Patrick and Gloria Shanafelt, and brothers Christopher and Silas Shanafelt.
Shanafelt enlisted in 2009
Shanafelt was a 2006 graduate of Creston High School and enlisted in 2009.
"He was a great role model," Lt. Col. Don Robinson, an instructor with the Junior ROTC program at the school, told Mlive.com.
Shanafelt participated in the ROTC program for four years, where he was the top-ranked member at the school and was the battalion commander.
"He had a ribbon rank that makes mine look like a rookie," Robinson said, describing him as "a super kid."
"He really took it on by himself," Robinson said.
Army medic survived by wife, son
Shanafelt's survivors include wife Marina, 13-month-old son Daniel, parents Patrick and Gloria Shanafelt, and brothers Christopher and Silas Shanafelt, a Navy petty officer.
Father Patrick Shanafelt is a Marine veteran, but Zachary wasn't planning a military career when Robinson knew him, the instructor said.
"His goals were to continue his education and get a job," Robinson said.
But facing a tough job market, the younger Shanafelt sought out his help in applying to the Army in 2009. Robinson said the two stayed in touch through Facebook, and Shanafelt would ask how the ROTC program was going.
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