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Merrill community comes together to help long time coach

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If you've been to a Merrill football or basketball practice or game in the last few decades, you’ve almost certainly seen Chris Zastrow.

Coach Z, as he's known around town, can almost always be found on the sideline helping cheer on his favorite team.

"You see him every Friday night when the football games are going on," said Alyssa Swan the Bluejays Cross Country Coach. "You know who he is and he's always laughing and he's just positive energy."

"He's just such a great person to have on your sideline," said Jason Wadzinski, Merrill football's head coach. "Wherever he is, you know that he's there because it's usually following with some enthusiasm."

However several weeks ago, it was Coach Z that needed some support.

"His car broke down," said Assistant football coach Adam Yirkovsky. "So we've really tried to get him some help with first trying to find him a car."

"He really loved his van," said Swan. "It was his independence and my brother (Yirkovsky) was really upset about it. I was like, 'Why don't we try to see what the community can do for Z, since he's been such a big part of the community?' "

So they decided to start a GoFundMe campaign for the beloved coach.

It was an instant success.

"The original goal was $3000," said Yirkovsky. "We met that in under two days."

"It's just amazing to see that there are a lot of people out there that are out there in our community that have been helping out," said Swan "It's great, it's just great."

An amazing effort by the community to give back to a man that devoted so much time to them.

"It just shows how much support Z has from the community of Merrill," said Yirkovsky. "I've never been more proud to be a Bluejay and a Merrill resident than I am right now."

"The compassion that this community has showed Z it's more than words," agreed Wadzinski. "It's family."

The campaign, as of the writing of this article, is currently over $5000.

If you would like to learn more about the fundraiser for Coach Z or would like to donate, you can click here to visit the site.

Alex Stewart

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