ELSIE, Mich. (WLNS) – Zach Miller was just 20-years-old and he always wanted to be a firefighter.
He started as a cadet in Elsie at just 16 and graduated from the fire academy last June.
This evening, just hours after his tragic death, he’s being remembered as a hero.
Miller was driving to Lansing where he worked part time as a mechanic. Deputies say he was involved in a minor crash on M-21 between US-127 and Scott Rd.
“There was an accident, he got out and was trying to render aid to another person when another vehicle came up and that’s when he was struck,” said Elsie Fire Department Assistant Chief Shane Grinnell.
Those who knew him say Miller was a home grown man.
He graduated from Ovid-Elsie high school just a few years ago.
He was one of the youngest members of the Elsie fire department but Assistant Chief Shane Grinnell says that never slowed him down.
“Even if he wasn’t the first one out of the door he was on his way. I guarantee he was showing up to everything with a smile on his face, willing to do whatever we ask him.”
In a small town community, word spreads quickly.
The Elsie Fire Department made the heartbreaking announcement just before 1:00 p.m. Within minutes, prayers and condolences started pouring in across social media.
Tonight, Grinnell says that the brotherhood of firefighters is being put to the test even more than usual.
“We have 25 guys on our department, a couple of them are related to Zach. We’re all a brotherhood, but we’ve got close family ties right now. The Chief and I, we’re just trying to get through today. We talked to his family and we’re making some plans and arrangements and also trying to take care of our guys we have still here at the station,” said Grinnell.
Departments from around the area say they’ll cover for Elsie as they get through this process.
Deputies say the driver of the vehicle that hit Miller is 17-years-old.
An investigation into the crash continues.