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Community coming together to support teenage firefighter battling cancer

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Zach Taylor is a third generation firefighter, his father has been the fire chief in Anderson Township for about 20 years. Zach Taylor is a third generation firefighter, his father has been the fire chief in Anderson Township for about 20 years.
PERRY CO., IN (WFIE) -

A local teenage volunteer firefighter is now battling cancer for the second time in his short life.

We found out about Zach Taylor's story after several of you posted his story on our Facebook page.

Zach is a third generation firefighter, his father has been the fire chief in Anderson Township for about 20 years. And now a lot of people are pulling for him.

"Zach's a very good firefighter. He lives and breaths this stuff," volunteer firefighter, Billy Raetz said. 

Right now though that life at the Anderson Township Fire Department is on hold.

That's because the 19-year-old college freshman is fighting something no amount of training equipment or experience can make any easier. 

He's in Memphis, back and forth to St. Jude's Hospital with two kinds of cancer.

"When we're up here on Monday nights taking care of duties here at the fire station and he's not here, it just feels like there's something missing," Raetz said. 

Like few practical jokes. Zach's known for his sense of humor. But when duty calls and it's time to get to work, he's ready.

"He's an aggressive firefighter. It's strictly business and we know that we've got a task that has to get done and we do it," Raetz said.

Now, Zach needs some help of his own. So his friends and even strangers from Perry County and beyond are pitching in for a benefit in his name.

It's a name many already know.  

"The pennies are going to Zach Taylor's family," 5th grade student, Kendra Anastasiades said.

Every day now, Joan Goble's 5th grade class at Cannelton Elementary dutifully dumps in its pennies, and even dollars, for Zach.

Thanks in part to Goble, now all three school systems in the county have joined the cause. 

"I feel like it's very important that children grow up knowing that they do have a way that they can help. That they definitely have a voice and that they can make a difference," Goble said.

"That makes me feel happy because I know that I'm helping him and we're all helping him," Anastasiades said 

Even though his fellow firefighters think Zach probably wouldn't like all the fuss, this community knows it is doing the right thing.

Giving back to a young man whose life is all about being there for others.  

"He's a fighter, it's been said before. He's not going to let this thing beat him. He's going to get better and come home and come back to us," Aaron Meyer said.

The benefit and auction for Zach is January 26th at the Perry County 4-H Fairgrounds. There will be chicken dinners, chili, baked goods, an auction, and Euchre tournament.

For more, head to the Zach Taylor Benefit Page on Facebook. 

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