Nearly 50 years after he was killed on a battlefield in Vietnam, Zack Addington was remembered Thursday, Aug. 30, with a ceremony renaming the Clermont post office in his honor.
“Zack is my hero,” said retired Clermont Postmaster James Young, who was in charge of the post office when Addington died on May 16, 1968, at 19.
More than 100 people gathered in the fellowship hall at the Concord Baptist Church to unveil a plaque naming the building after Addington, a Clermont native and lance corporal in the Marines.
The plaque will be placed in the post office at 430 Main St. in the North Hall County town. The building already bears the new name, LCPL Zack T. Addington Postal Facility.
Family, public officials and U.S. Postal Service workers filled the room, where a table was set with a display of Addington’s medals, a Marines uniform hat and a framed picture of Addington.
“Many would say we’re here because … he was killed in action,” U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said. “I tell you the reason we’re here is not only that. We’re here because he lived, and he lived well, enough where people had a nickname for him.”
“All of us who grew up here with him knew him as Poochie,” Clermont Mayor James Nix said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “For a short time, when I was a little fellow, I was a next door neighbor to the Addingtons.”
Addington joined the Marines in 1967 and later was promoted to lance corporal. He was a rifleman in the 3rd Marine Division of the Fleet Marine Force.
His honors included the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon for his service in Vietnam.
Young helped lead the campaign to rename the post office after Addington, an effort acknowledged by Collins during the ceremony.
“We did it,” Collins said, looking at Young.
Collins sponsored the original bill renaming the post office. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on March 26.