May 23, 2014
Airman Zach Cuddeback was killed in Germany in 2011 while on duty. This Memorial Day weekend, his mother says she'll spend it honoring him, and the thousands of other veterans who have lost their life.
Cuddeback's mother Celia Loyet says her son was full of life.
"He was full speed ahead from the time he walked, and he walked very early," said Loyet.
Loyet says from an early age, Cuddeback has the desire to help others, and liked being a shoulder to lean on. Growing up as an army brat, Cuddeback moved around a lot, but attended William Monroe High School in Greene County where he found his passion for hockey.
"When he got on the ice, there was no stopping him," said Loyet.
Cuddeback attended Old Dominion University for one year and played hockey, but decided he wanted to leave college and join the military. Cuddeback went into basic training for the Air Force in 2009.
Loyet says Cuddeback thrived in the military, enjoying the brotherhood, hard work and structure.
"He was very proud to wear that uniform. Every opportunity he had he would wear it, and when he did his hometown recruiting in Charlottesville for two weeks, you rarely saw him without his uniform on," said Loyet.
In March of 2011 while he was stationed in Germany Cuddeback gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in a terror attack.
"I try and honor him every day, but on Memorial Day I try and remember he's not the only one that gave us our freedom," said Loyet. "I know it's because of people like Zach that made it possible to live this lifestyle, cause freedom is not free."
Every year soldiers and friend run a 5k in Zack’s honor at the air the base where he will killed in Germany and at the base where he was born here in the U.S.