JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local family was touched Monday by the response of several groups asked to pay tribute to a soldier being buried in Jacksonville on Memorial Day.
Army Spc. Zachary Debeau, 23, died of natural causes last week, his family said. The Mandarin High School alum served three years in the Army and spent time in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay.
When he died, his wife asked several Mustang club in Jacksonville if they would help honor Debeau, who loved Mustangs and owned several in his short life.
The three major Mustang clubs in Jacksonville -- First Coast Modified, Modern Mustangs of Jax and the Jacksonville Mustang Club -- went beyond the family's expectations and joined together to take part Monday in a procession from Mandarin to the National Cemetery on the Northside.
“He would have loved to see this. I know he is looking down and pretty happy,” Debeau's brother, Chris McCallum, said. “I will tell you, he's a competitor. He was cocky, and he knew he was good. Good ballplayer. Good soldier. Good brother. Good son. He loved his sports. He love the military. He was actually going to be getting out soon, working with the Florida Highway Patrol.”
McCallum said his brother loved going fast and enjoyed his fast cars.
The members of the clubs who joined in Monday's procession all had their reasons for participating.
“Being a veteran for one, honoring another veteran,” club member Jeff Norris said.