The explosion of a roadside bomb near Baghdad, Iraq killed 19-year-old Travis Clyde Zimmerman on Saturday, April 22.

By By:Diane Van Dyke

By Diane Van Dyke

Assistant Editor

The Boyertown community grieves for the loss of one of its soldiers.

The explosion of a roadside bomb near Baghdad, Iraq killed 19-year-old Travis Clyde Zimmerman on Saturday, April 22.

Army Pvt. Zimmerman was carrying out combat reconnaissance operations when an improvised explosive device exploded near his observation post, the Department of Defense said.

Outside his family's New Berlinville home along North Reading Avenue, American flags and a yellow ribbon serve as silent reminders of Zimmerman's brave service. Posted signs welcome the comfort of family and friends but tell the media to respect this time of mourning.

Zimmerman's alma mater, Boyertown Area Senior High, is a solemn place as staff and students cope with losing one of their own. Counselors are available to listen and offer support.

"I feel for his family's loss," said senior high Principal Dan Goffredo, who knew Zimmerman and described him as a student who was always "polite and respectful."

"In his school records, his teachers noted he was a 'pleasure to have in class,'" district Superintendent Dr. Harry Morgan said. "Over the years, it was written on a number of his report cards that he was courteous and cooperative."

"This is a great loss to the family, and our sympathy goes out to them," Morgan said. "We are grateful, too, for his service to our country."

Following his graduation in June 2005, Zimmerman started basic training in July. His goal, according to the high school yearbook, was to serve in the Army. In February, he went with the Army 101st Airborne to Iraq.

While in high school, he worked part time at Bonanza restaurant in various positions.

"Everyone who worked with him liked him," said restaurant owner Denise Christman. "He had that type of personality. He did everything from dishwashing to hosting to waiting on tables and worked hard. The mood is very somber here."

Zimmerman, a lifelong resident of Boyertown, is the son of Gail Camperson and Lloyd Zimmerman.

Contact assistant editor Diane Van Dyke at 610-367-6041, ext. 228 or

dvandyke@berksmontnews.com.

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