Saturday, February 03, 2007

Stephen D. Shannon killed by rocket-propelled grenade

EASTERN IOWA - Corporal Stephen Shannon is the 51st Iowa Soldier to die Iraq.

But there was a lot more to him than his involvement in the military. Shannon grew up in Guttenberg. He joined the military because he wanted to help people.

Now, friends and family are still trying to cope with the fact they'll never see him again.

Shannon was known for his sense of humor. Losing a friend like him is especially tough because he spent his entire life trying to make everyone smile.

"However bad I was feeling, or if I was down, he could always bring me up with a good joke, or just by saying my name," Maggie Oliver, a friend, said.

The fallen soldier refused to take himself seriously. His best friend, Alex Finch, says Shannon always thought of new ways to make people laugh.

"A couple of Halloween's ago, we bought some extra large lingerie and dressed up as Victoria's Secret models and went to a Halloween party," Finch said.

He was also obsessed with anything related to Star Wars. He didn't care if people knew it.

"He read all the Star Wars books. He knew all the trivia. I guess he was a fanatic," Finch said.

His friends try to focus on those kinds of memories. But, the reality of what happened remains.

“It was always in the back of my mind, but every time I talked to him or spoke to him, he always seemed like he was in good hands and nothing like this could ever happen," Oliver said.

Finch said, "When this happens to someone that's been so influential in your life, has always been there and was such a big part of your life, you don't know what to think.”

When your best friend gets ripped away from you, words can't express what it feels like. Even though it seems impossible during a time like this, Finch and Oliver know Shannon would want them to smile.

Friends say Shannon wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement or with the military. He was 21 years old.

From KCRG 9