From the family of Zachary Tyler McDonald 1997-2011

Our Zach is a beautiful, giving soul who is deeply missed. From lending a hand to friends and family to contributing his last hard earned dollar to a salvation army kettle; it was always in his nature to be giving. So many in the community, family and friends came together to help celebrate his life and the positive things he did and taught each of us. The same strong spirit of generosity and caring that Zach held dear was reflected within all of you through your donations and support. There are no good words to describe how very thankful we all are for this. Thank you for all of your support, thoughts and overwhelming generosity.

Community Donors

Kiel, WI
A huge debt of gratitude is owed to the Kiel Police Department. Although Zach's family primarily worked with Chief Dave Funkhouser, Officer Jeremy Kamp and Captain Tom Meyer throughout Zach's case, there was also a great deal of team support offered by additional department staff. Several of the officers knew Zach personally. Yet they somehow managed to maintain a level of professionalism and compassion even through their own personal grief.
Kiel, WI
Pastor Fred and Pixie Coleman provided generous amounts of their time, support, compassion and guidance every step of the way. Their shared wisdom and guidance was invaluable during a time when every human ability normally taken for granted was greatly compromised. Through their compassion and grace our family was spared facing the most difficult steps alone. They will always be appreciated and remembered.
Chicago Ridge, IL
Like so many others out there, my family is struggling financially. We have a great dane mastiff mix and had no accommodation options for him so we could attend to our families needs in Kiel, WI. We were to stay with a family member who lives in a senior housing community in Sheboygan, WI with strict pet rules. Pawsitively Heaven was first contacted by an acquaintance's mother. They not only treated our dog Chester like he was their own, they placed him in a presidential suite. The charge? Nothing. We are grateful beyond words that Pawsitively Heaven went so far out of their way to help us. Our family would recommend them to anyone and were a little nervous Chester might not want to come home! Thank you so much for everything you did for us.
Riverview Family Restaurant
Kiel, WI
A very special thank you to Riverview Family Restaurant for providing a place for our family to meet and generously providing both food and beverages at no charge. Zach loved your spaghetti!
Kiel, WI
A very special thank you to The Outlet for providing a place where we could meet privately for direction from Pastor Fred and Pixie Coleman.
Alsip, IL
A special thank you to Brad & Ruthann Kort for their generosity both in time off as well as support. Also coworkers for their generosity and support in this difficult time. One coworker even made the 180 mile trip (one way) from Chicago to Kiel, WI to show support from Web 2 Market during this time. One of our clients, Sukhadia Sweets, sent a beautiful gift. It is called the Seeds of Life, a complete kit to grow a Red Northern Oak Tree. It has already begun growing.

A Few Special Donors

Mr.Guy Gelhaar
Kiel, WI
Zach worked for Mr.Gelhaar, a veteran who proudly served our country. He included a special message to Zach and graciously shared his memories of him. His generous donation will represent the seed planted to begin helping others in Zach's memory.
Jerry & Judy Bramstedt & Family
Kiel, WI
This family's generous donation is part of what made it possible to make many trips from Chicago to Kiel, WI during very difficult times. They shared a heartfelt connection through experience and extended their friendship which is deeply appreciated.
Green Bay, WI
When my sister, Wendy Renard, shared the story of Zach and some of our family's goals to create a positive legacy for him with her coworkers at Ameriprise, they responded without hesitation to contribute to our goals. Our family is very grateful for their generous support.
Zach McDonald
U.S. Navy, Active Duty RP
When Zach McDonald did a search of his name just to see what would pop up, he found our Zach's website. Zach said,"As a chaplain's assistant I've planned for countless memorial services for Sailors and Marines who have committed suicide. ... I have the domain www.zacharymcdonald.net. I would like to know if I can point this address to your site. The address now points to an MS Bike ride I supported in the past. I have no need for it at this time so would I like to point it to your site."

Home Depot

A couple years ago, Zach and one of his best friends, Marqus had a school project to build a catapult. Him and his best friends/brothers Justin, Marqus and Thomas, used to spend afternoons shooting things out of it while they ate snacks and talked about what Zach always called "boy stuff". Zach brought the catapult here a few months before his passing because he wanted to "pimp" it out and make it more powerful.

He tried a few different ways but never did get to finish. It was still taken apart from the last experiment.

I asked the boys if they would want the catapult. It hurts to give up anything that belonged to my son, but it just feels like that is where it belongs with Zach's best friends and brothers. It was part of their bond. The boys could hardly believe I still had it and were very excited. I told them I would try to get it put back together for them and bring it along for my next visit to WI.

It was very important to me to do this right for them. The thing is my repair skills are so hideous I've actually had folks give me discounts on repairs in exchange for letting them take snapshots of what I did.

Somehow duct tape and/or super glue ended up in the mix of things. Zach loved giving me grief and giggling about it. The last thing I wanted was for him to be looking down and seeing his mom going anywhere near his catapult with duct tape or glue.

So I went to the Home Depot in Alsip IL #6822 on 1/24/14 armed with a list of sorts. A gentleman named Keith showed me a few parts but I had a lot of questions about how to brace it correctly, etc. I was worried the boys would get hurt if I didn't do something right. We got to talking and he said he had an idea and wanted to know if I could wait for a few minutes.

Keith came backed and asked if him and his coworkers could take over the project. Dean, Jose, Keith and Brian all teamed up for this. I brought Zach's catapult in for them. They all showed a great deal of compassion. A few showed me photos of their own children. It was hard not to cry when I would visit the store.

The script you can see is hand done by the young man Jose. He added Zach's name and the names of the boys as part of the finishing touches. They gave me a beautiful photograph of all of them with the catapult standing in front of a Home Depot sign about doing the right thing.

The boys did not know about the catapult until a whole month later, only Marqus's grandparents knew. It takes me two paydays to save enough to visit WI, and I finally had enough by 2/24/12.

The angels of Home Depot said time and time again that they didn't need or want any recognition for doing what they did. The truth is that what they did can't be measured, repaid, or recognized properly no matter what.


On 2/26/2012, we all got to gather one more time to celebrate our memories of time with Zach. We went to the Kiel Public Cemetery by the river where Zach used to go fishing and now rests. This time with smiles. Cassi MacDonald, Zach's oldest sister, gathered some flat stones from Lake Michigan. I brought some permanent markers. We all wrote messages to Zach on the rocks. The boys, Justin, Marqus, Thomas, Lexi and Eli helped get them aimed into the river. The kids all played together just like they used to. I thought I could feel Zach smile for a moment.

In attendance: George & Bonnie Dietsche (Marqus's grandparents), Marqus's mom, Marqus O., Thomas Winkel, Justin DeVillers, Lexi (my lil one/Zach's little sis), Cassi MacDonald (my oldest/Zach's big sis), Eli (my grandbaby/Zach's nephew), Theresa Maxey (my mom/Zach's Gramma), Wendy Renard (my sister/Zach's Aunt), Malique Coole (my nephew/Zach's cousin), Ebby Coole (my niece/Zach's cousin).

Golden Gate Bridge Patroller

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK
A free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you. No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living.

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The Trevor Project

866 4-U-TREVOR
The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including a nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone.

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