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Fundraiser launches to honor Navy SEAL who died of cancer

Navy SEAL Zackary Wilson Miller, who died of cancer at age 39 in June 2021. (Ever Loved fundraiser photo)
March 21, 2022

After 39-year-old active Navy SEAL Zackary Wilson Miller II died from cancer in June 2021, loved ones created a memorial fund in his honor.

Established in January 2022, the Zackary Wilson Miller II Memorial Fund is seeking donations for Miller’s high school alma mater, McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. In March, the fund kicked off a fundraiser on Ever Loved that has raised just over $1,200 out of a $95,000 goal.

“Zack epitomized the ideals of McGill, including self-disciplined motivation, lifelong learning, and responsible global citizenship. We intend for his story of service and commitment to inspire the young men and women at McGill for years to come, enabling his legacy to continue in yet another special way,” the fundraiser states. “Proceeds from this effort will go towards improvements at the school and a memorial honoring Zack’s life.”

Another fund created shortly after Miller’s death on GoFundMe has raised more than $43,000.

According to his obituary, Miller was a Navy Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) when he succumbed to a brief battle with cancer at age 39. Growing up in Columbus, Ga. and Mobile, Ala., Miller was an athlete who played baseball, basketball and football. Miller eventually attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

After university, Miller enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as an Aviation Ordnanceman onboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68). Three years later, Miller decided to become a Navy SEAL and, following 10 months of grueling instruction, graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training.

Miller was deployed seven times and earned a number of awards, including the Bronze Star with Valor and Extraordinary Heroism as part of an overseas combat operation.

His other awards include Purple Heart; Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor (2); Joint Service Commendation Medal with C (Combat Conditions); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor (3); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Joint Service Achievement Medal with C; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Combat Action Ribbon (2); Presidential Unit Citation (3); Navy “E” Ribbon; Good Conduct Medal (5); National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (3); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Medal (2); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (2); and more.

His obituary described him as having an “unparalleled work ethic that was only matched by his unending positive attitude, sense of humor, and charm.”

“Zack was a devoted son, partner, friend, and teammate who imparted all his talents in his selfless service to our Nation. His legacy lives on through his immense love of all he held so dear,” it added.