A few days ago the world lost a man of great importance, he may not have been known to millions of people but for those lives he had touched he was instrumental. On July 30, 2012, 24 year old Zachary Conrad-Jarome Neal was taken from us during a senseless accident. Zack had slowed his semi to allow another vehicle to pass, as he did so a woman in a pick-up drove through a stop sign while texting, causing his semi to roll. Though he was taken from the world abruptly he had left his mark on many lives.
It wasn’t until this fishing season that I began to get close with Zack again. On Sundays he would promptly show up 10-20 minutes late to the Hawg Hunters events and on Tuesdays he would be a strong member of the Fish Finders. Zack was not only a star on the water but also a champion in the woods. He had claimed titles by way of his champion Redbones at UKC events.
The outdoors played a pivotal role in his life, but family always came first. Zack often made sacrifices to ensure his family was taken care of financially, emotionally, and physically. My niece Jasmine bears the memory of shooting her first firearm with Zack, though only after a rigorous how-to session. He even thought so much of her that he sacrificed an unopened beer to ensure she had the satisfaction of knowing the hit was good. Every weekend my sister would come back home from my grandfather’s house with a new set of stories about Zack and his antics, which had to be one of the most important and most likeable things about him.
Partying and pranking were always high on his list of things-to-do, often being done at the same time. Though Zack had a wild-side he was most noted for his exceptional personality. His life growing up could never be called easy but he made the best of everything and it showed. His drive to always improve his life and the lives of people around his is something that I admire greatly.
Zack truly is one of a kind and will be missed greatly by family and friends.