SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) — The community in Seymour is mourning a former volunteer firefighter.
Zack Fitzharris passed away in late September at 27 years old. He worked at the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department for several years before joining the United States Air Force.
Brooke Grunenwald went to Seymour High School with Fitzharris and said he welcomed her into what became a life-long friend group.
“He had something about him that just made everybody around him feel like they were the most important person when he was engaging with you, and he could do that in a room full of people,” she said.
Tyler Newman met Fitzharris back in seventh grade, and they remained close throughout adulthood.
“It says in his obituary he had an infectious smile, a great laugh and I can say that’s true. There’s been times I’ve heard him laugh and I’ve just started laughing from hearing him laugh,” Newman said.
Rob Taylor was the deputy fire chief when Fitzharris joined the department, and said Zack was instrumental during the 2016 Gatlinburg Wildfires.
“He worked in the incident command post for that event, for almost its entire duration, he was a tremendous asset to the county for that. He was also a great proponent of our annual Santa run that we do,” Taylor said.
Fitzharris was also named the Harry Hamilton Firefighter of the Year in 2017. He eventually left the department to join the U.S. Air Force, where he earned the ranking of Senior Airman.
“He had a tremendous passion for the job, he loved it. He was willing to help anyone, he was a great asset to the department, he was very missed when he went onto his next journey in the Airforce and whenever he would come home he would still help,” Taylor said.
Newman said Fitzharris’s memory will live on through what he loved.
“He just loved dancing, he loved hanging out with us, and he loved T-Pain, Paul Wall, and Mike Jones. Any time you got in the car you could expect any of that, so whenever that comes on shuffle that’s what we’re going to remember him for,” Newman said.
A procession will be held for Fitzharris on Monday at 1:15 p.m. in Seymour.