It could be called the tale of two Zachs.
Sixteen-year-old Zach Stroud, son of Kent and Carolyn Stroud, is a member of Boy Scout Troop 166 at St. John's Episcopal Church. Zach is well on his way to earning his Eagle rank. He's finished his Eagle project and now is completing all of the required documentation and preparing for his Board of Review. Zach credits his former neighbor, Zach Ramsey, for his project's inspiration.
Zach Stroud, a Myers Park High School junior, has created a memorial garden at Carmel Presbyterian, the church his family and the Ramsey family attend. In addition to landscaping and adding benches to the area just outside the sanctuary, he sold memorial bricks to the congregation to pave part of the garden.
He netted about $30 from each $55 brick and recently donated the proceeds – a check for $2,350 – to the Zach Ramsey Children's Cancer Fund.
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“I wanted to do something to recognize the struggle that Zach went through, and the benefit that came from his life even after his death,” Zach Stroud said.
When Stroud was a toddler, the families lived next door. Zach Ramsey was about five years older and the younger Zach looked up to him as a big brother, tagging along whenever allowed.
Later, the families moved apart but kept in touch.
When Zach Ramsey was diagnosed with cancer and was going through treatments at Presbyterian Blume Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center, he saw other families' financial burdens.
He started the Zach Ramey Children's Cancer Fund with his savings.
Zach Ramsey passed away in March 2005 at age 17, but Zach Stroud's project will help ensure his work and wishes continue.