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Oakdale teen dies following accident

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By Michelle Hollenhead

The new school year is starting off tragically at Oakdale School, with last week’s death of a rising eighth-grader.

Zackery Manis, 14, and a friend, Kaydon Redmon,13, were reportedly on their way to football practice when a one-vehicle accident on Cifty Creek injured both boys.

Only Zackery’s injuries proved fatal.

The boys were riding in the truck bed of a 1993 Nissan pickup driven by Zackery’s father, Scott Whited, when, for reasons unknown, Zachery was thrown from the truck.

He died of his injuries on Friday.

Redmon also received minor injuries.

As of Monday, the accident is still being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

School administrators were devastated by the news, and remembered a student with a heart for service and helping others.

“He was a great kid – a really good kid,” Oakdale School Principal Heath Snow said Friday. “When you have a school this small, you really know your kids, and he was a good one.”

Vice Principal Misty Nelson agreed.

“He was never in trouble — never had any problems.

“He was very cooperative, and just a great kid.”

Zackery’s football coach was especially close to him.

“Zack was an A1 kid!,” said his coach, Jeff Kidd on Monday.

“You never saw him without him being quick with a kind word and a smile! Zack loved helping people and being a friend!  He could fit in with the 18 year old crowd as well as play with and entertain small children.  Zack didn’t meet a stranger; never! 

“Zack was a kid that nobody was going to outwork - that was his attitude.

The things of life didn’t come easy for him, and working hard was all that he knew.”

Kidd said Zackery served as a team captain for the Middle School football team.

“He was pumped about the upcoming season and his career as a football player was taking off like a rocket!”

He also described Zackery as a young man who “loved his family, his friends, his team, and above all his LORD.”

In fact, it is Zackery’s relationship with God that brings those who knew him — especially Kidd — some semblance of peace.

“Only God knows why this had to be and God is in full control. “It brings us comfort to know that Zack has gone to his real home with Jesus, despite the fact that we will miss him sorely.”

And, Zackery will not soon be forgotten. His teammates have planned several ways to honor him in the days and weeks to come.

Kidd said both the high school and middle school football players will wear ZM decals on their helmets in Zackery’s honor.

“The middle school team is also going to have sewn on either our game jerseys or warm-up tees the No. 56 which is the number that Zack requested back in the spring,” he added. 

“No. 56 will never be worn by any other OMS Football player. 

Kidd also said that Zackery’s football locker will remain empty for the rest of the season and, in years to come, “only stand out and privileged players who have earned it will be issued his locker. “

“His spot in the warm-up line will remain vacant this season and his spot as a team captain will remain unfilled.”

To honor Zachary’s love and commitment to his school, his funeral services were to be held there Tuesday night, Aug. 1, beginning at 6 p.m.