Local American hero honored in LaGrange - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Local American hero honored in LaGrange

(Source: Bruce Zamelsky/WTVM) (Source: Bruce Zamelsky/WTVM)
(Source: Bruce Zamelsky/WTVM) (Source: Bruce Zamelsky/WTVM)

LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) - An American hero that served the country for three decades is being honored Saturday.

Bruce Zamelsky is known in LaGrange as an American hero and a recent health diagnosis has the community rallying around him.

He was a firefighter during 9/11 and saved lives as a paramedic during his career.

He has taught generations of firefighters and paramedics and even rushed to help in the 911 rescue effort. 

“I was a volunteer firefighter since 1972 and also on the ambulance," says Zamelsky.

He namelessly is an American hero that spent 30 years of his life battling fires and saving lives around the country.

“Started out in New Jersey, went to Florida, here, then New York,” he says.

During his time as a firefighter and paramedic, Zamelsky has seen everything from 9/11 to house fires and even spending years teaching firemen in 38 different states.

"All the other challenges I faced, I knew what I was getting into. I'd been trained for them. I knew how to handle them. My family. My daughter and her husband. My granddaughter and great granddaughter living with me. That's what's keeping me going right now," says Zamelsky.

"That was a high point in my career,” he says.

A recent discovery during a surgery has changed doctor’s outlook on Zamelsky's health but hasn’t broken his spirit.

“A few months ago I found out I had cancer and by the time they found it, it was already staged four," Zamelsky tells News Leader 9.

Zamelsky was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare and aggressive type of cancer.

“My cancer… they don’t know. They don’t know what causes it where it comes from, it is what it is there’s nothing I can do about it I’ve done about everything I’ve wanted to do," he says.

Saturday, his family, friends, and neighbors hosted a ride and later a raffle inside the LaGrange Elk Lodge. 

“It’s gonna help me with my expensive and treatments and we can send some to the Cholangiocarcinoma  Foundation,” says Zamelsky. 

Some of the funds raised in today's ride, raffle and silent auction will help pay for some of Bruce's treatment, and will also go to a cancer foundation dedicated to research and knowledge in curing Cholangiocarcinoma.

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