GRAND RAPIDS, MI, U.S.A.
SPC, COMBAT MEDIC, ATTACK BATTERY, 1-84TH FIELD ARTILLERY, 170TH INFANTRY BCT
11/12/2012, WALTER REED MEDICAL CENTER, WASHINGTON, DC
SPC Zachary A. Shanafelt, age 24, was born June 23, 1988. On November 21, 2012, he passed away while bravely and honorably serving his country in the U.S. Army.
Zachary was a 2006 graduate of Creston High School where he attended four years of ROTC achieving the rank of LTC and becoming the Battalion Commander. SPC Shanafelt entered the Army in 2009. He completed his basic training at Ft. Jackson, SC and completed his Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX where he qualified as a certified Combat Medic.
Children, parents, and teachers from Valley View Elementary School observeD the funeral for Army Specialist Zachary Shanafelt Rockford, MI on November 30, 2012. Around 600 students were present to honor the 24-year old, who was said to have loved children.
When Army SPC Nick Sanders first met Zachary Shanafelt, he knew he was someone he wanted to be friends with. Like many people, SPC Sanders caught on to SPC Shanafelt’s curiosity and passion. Even when deployed in Afghanistan, the 24-year-old Army medic had an ability to live large, and he made sure those around him enjoyed life, too.
“He saved countless lives while we were deployed and kept us light on our feet,” SPC Sanders stated. “He took your mind off war,” he added.
SPC Shanafelt dreamed of becoming a pediatric physician assistant. The joy he got from helping kids was apparent to those he served with in Afghanistan. He gave toys to the children in villages and always offered a high five.
When Zachary learned his wife, Marina, was pregnant with their son, Daniel, he went around to everyone, making sure they knew he was going to be a father,” Patrick Shanafelt, SPC Shanafelt father explained. Patrick Shanafelt wants Zachary to be remembered for his son’s kindness and respect that brought out the best in others.
Patrick Shanafelt added: Zachary had a 13-month-old son, Daniel, and a wife, Marina. Mr. Shanafelt said when his grandson is old enough, he’ll assure him his father’s legacy will be forever cherished.
“I’m going to tell him he’s got the best dad ever. I’ll tell him everything about his dad,” he said.
SPC Shanafelt served five months as a combat medic in Afghanistan with the Attack Battery 1-84th Field Artillery at Combat Outpost Qaisar, Fariyab Province. He was injured and sent stateside to Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment. Here he was attached to the Wounded Warriors program. He died at Walter Reed the morning of November 21, 2012.
SPC Shanafelt is survived by his loving wife, Marina L. Shanafelt; his 13 month old son, Daniel Z. Shanafelt; his father a former U.S. Marine, Patrick A. Shanafelt; mother, Gloria Shanafelt; brothers, Christopher M. Shanafelt, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Silas E. Shanafelt active duty in the U.S. Navy; grandparents, Ken and Anne Kelly; and extended family and friends. SPC Shanafelt was buried with full military honors.