Dunedin, Florida - We are hearing from the parents of a U.S. Army soldier from Dunedin who was killed in the line of duty on Monday.
Just three months after deployment, U.S. Army specialist Zachary Shannon was killed when his helicopter went down during a night vision operation in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
"It's still like a dream. Every once in a while I'll look back and say my God I just lost a child. Zack's not coming back," said Shannon's mother, Kim Allison.
In her living room, there is a wall dedicated to all the family members who have served in the military, which include Shannon's three brothers and father.
While it doesn't make his death any better, Kim Allison says both she and her son understood the dangers.
"I don't think he had any fear. It would be okay with him if this is how he died."
Instead of mourning his death, the family is celebrating and remembering Zachary Shannon's life.
"His wit and his smart-alec comebacks were above and beyond most of ours so you usually didn't try to tangle with him."
Recalling the good times, Shannon's family also remembers him as fiercely competitive, even with his brothers.
"The ROTC, they had a rifle team for shooting .. you know pellet guns and Steven won the top gun for Pinellas County the one year and so Zack couldn't let that happen, so he turns around and won two years," said Chip Allison ."And made sure everybody knew about it," said his wife, Kim.
Zachary Shannon was also an avid fan of Bay Area sport teams. The family displayed the jersey he often wore when he would arrive back home in Dunedin on leave from the army.
"Zack was a Tampa Bay fanatic, the Buccaneers, the Rays and the Lighting," said Chip Allison. "He could tell you just about anything about any player, any future player - any prospect that they had. He was fanatical about his sport teams."
Shannon's body remains at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, but is expected to be flown to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on March 24th.
A 'Celebration of Life' is set for that very same day at the VFW 2550 and is open to the public.