TAMPA (FOX 13) - Covered in an American flag, the body of Army Private First Class Zachery Nathaniel Fuller, 23, returned home to Tampa Bay Thursday.
"He was uniquely powerful for his country, his neighbors, his friends; his heart so big and powerful. All he wanted to do was good for others," said his father, Lester Fuller.
Fuller, who is from Palmetto, died on June 2 with eight other soldiers after the truck they were in overturned in floodwaters at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
Military service runs deep in his family. His parents, grandparents and extended family have all served. He followed in their footsteps, signing up for the Army in November.
"It is just, we love America. It's what we do, we did our part. He's no different. He did his part," Fuller said.
"God is in control," his uncle, Benjamin Grant, Jr. added. "We're just hoping and praying for strength through him."
His body returned aboard a commercial flight that landed at Tampa International Airport. Airline workers stood respectfully at attention as the flag-draped casket was unloaded. Family members solemnly approached the casket and paid their respects.
From there, Fuller's casket received a law enforcement escort to Manatee County. Residents there waved flags and paid their respects to the young fallen soldier.
"I'm super proud of my son and everything he's done, all the people he's helped," said his father.
Pfc. Fuller's funeral is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bible Baptist Church in Palmetto.
Pfc. Fuller joined the service in arrived at Fort Hood in April. He received the service ribbon, a National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.