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Fellow cadets lay Zach to rest

Manteca High JROTC provides pallbearers for service

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Fellow cadets lay Zach to rest

Manteca High School JROTC cadets carried their brother Zachariah Gomez Hernandez to his final resting place in private graveside ceremonies Monday at Park View Cemetery on French Camp Road.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED April 29, 2014 1:22 a.m.

A detachment of seven JROTC cadets from Manteca High School served as honor guard pallbearers for a fellow cadet killed as he was walking home on the shoulder of East Highway 120.

The 3 p.m. Monday service was intentionally set after the end of their school day to give the student honor guard time to change into their uniforms and drive to the Park View Cemetery on French Camp Road west of Highway 99. Mourners at the private service for Cadet Zachariah Gomez Hernandez, 14, included mostly family members and several other members of the JROTC.

The pallbearers stood at attention in a straight line near the casket during the service and served as backdrop for the windy but solemn ceremony at the most northern point of the cemetery.

A public funeral had been held on Sunday that drew a large crowd of students and adults alike to pay their respects to the Manteca High freshman who had been lauded for his character and who was regarded as a “happy-go-lucky” guy who always had a smile on his face. 

 Gomez Hernandez was mortally injured when he and three friends were run down April 19 at 1:15 a.m. on Highway 120 near Comconex Road by a westbound driver who admitted to the CHP that she was reaching for her cell phone when her car veered off the roadway. 

The Manteca teen had been transported by ambulance to Doctors Hospital of Manteca and then transferred to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto where he passed away from his injuries. His three friends suffered major, moderate and minor injuries according to the CHP report. 

A 15-year-old Manteca boy and a 16-year-old girl had received major and moderate injuries and were transported to San Joaquin County Hospital in French Camp. Another 14-year-old boy was said to have received minor injuries from the impact of the vehicle.

The Manteca High JROTC held a fundraising Raiders’ Competition event last Saturday at Milan’s Pizza in an effort to raise money for the family’s medical and funeral expenses. Donations can be made by calling Manny Moreno at 209.640.9187. Moreno remembered Zachariah was the kind of person that teens and adults alike wanted to be around – gravitating toward him without even realizing it.

Gomez Hernandez was classified as a rifleman serving in the JROTC Color Guard. His friends said they had never seen him angry and he was always ready to serve as a mediator – a level headed teenager who never found fault. He was a member of the Youth Group of the Christian Worship Center in Manteca.

One friend described him: “Kind. Generous. Loving. Funny and Caring.”

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