To the Army, he was a hero. But to his family, Zach Tellier was a carpenter, a rock music fan and a “brave, loving, kind, generous” young man.
He “cared about everybody else in the world other than himself,” his mother, Pamela Morse of Falmouth, said yesterday.
The 31-year-old paratrooper died Saturday in Afghanistan after being shot while on ground patrol.
Morse said her son was a hard worker who wanted nothing more than to be on base with “his guys.”
“It ended up being the most rewarding job he ever had,” she said.
In April, he saved the lives of two fellow paratroopers by pulling them from a burning Humvee that had driven over a bomb. He was hospitalized for burns on his arms and hands, and was awarded the Bronze Star with valor.
“We are all very proud of him. He was a brave individual for doing what he did,” said his father, David Tellier of Groton. “He wouldn’t consider himself a hero, but a lot of other people would consider him one.”
Tellier grew up in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He graduated from Manchester West High School in Manchester, N.H.
Tellier’s wife, Sara Tellier, lives in Atlanta.
As a teen, Tellier played the drums and formed a band with his friends.
“(He) was a rock fan,” his mother said. “A fan of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Jimmy Hendrix.”
Morse said her son also was a history buff, an avid reader and fluent in German, which he taught to children while in high school.
He went on to study communications at American University in Washington, D.C.
Tellier, who last spoke to his son a month and a half ago, said his son had worked as a carpenter before joining the Army.
“He enjoyed creating things with his hands,” he said.
His stepmother, Lauren Tellier, remembers him as, “the best stepson you can ever have. . . . He loved people, he loved his family, he took care of everybody.”
His funeral will be held later this week at Bourne National Cemetery.