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Bill renaming Clermont post office for Marine who died in Vietnam War passes U.S. House
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Clermont's Zack Addington was killed during the Vietnam War. A bill renaming the Clermont post office after Addington is headed to President Donald Trump's desk after being passed by the House and Senate. - photo by Scott Rogers

A bill renaming Clermont’s post office for Zack Addington passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Addington, a lance corporal and rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, was killed in action during the Vietnam War. His sister, B.J. Ash, said he was a “blessing” to the family and “a joy every day we had him.” He was born in Gainesville.

Retired Clermont Postmaster James Young, 93, had been leading the effort to rename the town’s post office after Addington. This year, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, took on the task.

And on Tuesday, the bill unanimously passed the House.

“I’m pleased to see my colleagues in the House recognize the legacy of Lance Corporal Addington, who remains an example of selfless courage to our community in Northeast Georgia,” Collins said.

The Republican spoke about Addington on the floor of the House before the vote, telling the chamber about Addington’s honors and the praise of his commanding officer.

Addington was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.

Collins said the renaming of the Clermont post office to honor “will be a reminder to all of us of his sacrifice and the sacrifice of the armed services” in “our corner of Georgia.”

“Zack Addington was one who went willingly. He knew he may not return — in fact, he even told people that he may not — and he did not,” Collins said on the floor of the House. “But that service and that sacrifice gives us the ability to stand here today and do what we do, and by standing here today I intend to honor him by the naming of this post office.”

Deborah Mauldin, who was engaged to Zack at the time of his death, said Addington knew that he wouldn’t return from Vietnam.

“He even told me before he left for Vietnam that he knew he wouldn’t make it back,” she told The Times. “He told me several times that if something happened to him, he wanted me to always keep a place in my heart for him, but to find someone who would love me as much as he did.”

As with Young and Addington’s family, Mauldin said renaming the post office was a fitting tribute to the soldier’s memory.

“I can’t think of anything that would honor his memory more than to have the Clermont post office renamed for him,” Mauldin said.

Collins told The Times after the vote that he hopes to have House Resolution 3821, one of a series of bills renaming post offices in the country, through the Senate before the end of the year.

News reporter Jeff Gill Contributed to this story.