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Army Sgt. Jeffrey R. Shaver

Died May 12, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

26, of Maple Valley, Wash.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry, Army National Guard, Spokane, Wash.; killed May 12 when his convoy vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in Baghdad.

Washington National Guard soldier mourned

Associated Press

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. — Family and friends of Sgt. Jeffrey Shaver mourned the 26-year-old medic over the weekend, remembering him as a gregarious young man who had a knack for putting people at ease.

A member of the Washington National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, out of Spokane, Shaver was killed when a roadside bomb exploded near Baghdad on May 12, a few months into his yearlong tour of duty in Iraq.

He was the first Washington National Guardsman killed in combat since the Korean War.

Shaver graduated from Newport High School in Newport, Pend Oreille County, in 1997. After graduation, he moved to the Spokane area and became a fitness instructor and personal trainer.

Mel Tonasket, a Colville Confederated Tribal Council Member, told stories about Shaver’s eight years on the reservation near Spokane, where he lived with his father, though they weren’t tribal members.

Shaver loved driving all-terrain vehicles, speed sledding, hunting, fishing and boating. As a teenager, he was quick to offer help looking for people missing near the reservation. And he had a way of making people around him feel comfortable.

“Jeff could make you feel like you were his best friend, and you were,” Tonasket said.

A military funeral at Tahoma National Cemetery in Maple Valley followed Shaver’s memorial service at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church on Saturday.

Shaver and his best friend, Dale Raschko, joined the National Guard in 1999 and trained to become medics. Shaver planned to use his medical skills to help Iraqi civilians in his off time, his family said in a statement released soon after his death.

“The way we should remember Jeff is as a person who loved the Lord and loved others. Everything I know of Jeff is that he was a servant; he loved serving others and helping,” said Craig Schafer, 31, who worked with him at church.

Shaver moved to western Washington in 2002 to be closer to his mother and sisters. He worked for Bryman College, helping students find jobs in the medical field and later attended Green River Community College, studying helicopter aviation.

His guard unit was called to active duty in Spokane in November. After training at Fort Lewis and California, his unit entered Iraq from Kuwait in mid-April. Shortly after arriving in Baghdad, he was promoted to sergeant.

He is survived by his mother and father, Jane and John Shaver; sisters Gwen and Sakura; and his fiancee, Charity Canterbury of Quilcene.

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