Sgt Shawn Eades

26 March 1975 - 20 August 2008

Schoolyard memorial for fallen soldier

Stacey Escott, Hamilton Spectator, 25 Sept 2011

Fallen Hamilton soldier Shawn Allen Eades’ wife and two young daughters missed the connecting flight that would get them to his memorial ceremony last week (Friday 23 Sep 11).

The family lives in Edmonton and had to catch a plane from Winnipeg that would fly them to Hamilton. With just half an hour to get in and out of the airport, the plane left without them. Lisa pleaded with airport authorities, and after hearing her story, the pilot turned the plane around and came back for them. The people already on board clapped as Lisa and her daughters Breanna, 10, and Niya, 7, were seated.

They were joined by family and friends, soldiers, teachers, students and politicians as close to 200 people at Westwood Public School remembered the fallen soldier Friday afternoon.

Eades was killed on Aug. 20, 2008, while on duty in Afghanistan. He was two weeks away from coming home after his third rotation.

“I think that it helps educate the newer generation of children that war is not just in the past,” said Lisa. “It’s not just about WWI and WWII, wars are continuing on in our day and age now and they are not being as recognized as they need to be.”

The ceremony took place in the school gymnasium at Westwood where Shawn was a student from grades 3-6 in the ’80s. Students sat patiently as they waited to stand up and sing Canadian Heroes.

“He was really special to Canada, and if we didn’t have these soldiers we would have had a really bad life,” said Hassan Skaik, 10.

“It’s not really a happy ceremony, it’s a sad ceremony,” said Victoria Dixon, 9. “It’s not really happy to have a father or son or husband die.”
Chris Ecklund, philanthropist and creator of Canadian Heroes memorial website, worked closely with Eades’ mother Bev McCraw on the memorial. He said he’s been to too many repatriation ceremonies and hopefully there won’t be any more.

“We went to Afghanistan to fight for our freedoms, and unfortunately 157 of our soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Ecklund. “The kids are going to go away from this — they are going to know who Shawn Eades was.”

McCraw gave a touching tribute to her son as she told the crowd the pride and joy of Shawn’s life were his daughters. She looked at Breanna and Niya when she told them, “You will always have an angel on your shoulders.”

The ceremony continued on outside into the wet drizzle where the Eades family was escorted out to the tune of bagpipes. The memorial was draped in a Canadian flag while surrounded by red mums and red lanterns. After the stone was unveiled in the Westwood schoolyard, Breanna and Niya lit the lanterns as the rest of the family laid red roses in front of it.

“It was about daddy — I want people to know that people who die in the war should always be remembered,” said Breanna.

“He was a special soldier,” added Niya.

The memorial is located at Westwood Public School, 9 Lynbrook Drive, Hamilton Ontario.


Fallen soldier remembered for dedication

Matthew Pearson Canwest News Service Friday, August 29, 2008

OTTAWA - A veteran soldier weeks from coming home was remembered Thursday as a dedicated Canadian Forces member with a "big, toothy grin."

The military funeral for Sgt. Shawn Allen Eades, who died Aug. 20 following a roadside blast in Afghanistan, was held at the Beechwood National Memorial Centre in Ottawa.

Sapper Stephan Stock and Cpl. Dustin Wasden were also killed in the blast.

The three deaths brought to 93 the total number of soldiers killed while serving in Afghanistan since the mission began in 2002.

About 150 people, mostly men and women in military uniforms, filled the chapel to pay tribute to Eades, 33.

He was on his third rotation in Afghanistan and had previously served on missions to Bosnia and Kosovo.

"He wanted to get into the fight, wherever and whenever it took him," said Col. Andre Corbould, his former commanding officer. "We were not ready for him to leave us."

His sacrifice will not be forgotten, the colonel added.

"Only good men like him volunteer to serve and defend their country. Only good men like him are willing to die for us," he said.

Corbould first met Eades in 1996 and said he was quickly drawn to the young man's honest, forthright and candid assessments of any given situation.

Those assessments were not always glowing, he added.

The comment elicited laughter from some of those gathered to pay their respects.

Eades was based in Edmonton with the 12 Field Squadron -- 1 Combat Engineer Regimen.

He leaves behind his wife, Lisa Schamehorn, and the couple's two daughters, seven-year-old Breanna and Niya who is four.

The sergeant's younger brother, David Eades, said his brother had given him much to look up to and remember.

"Shawn truly believed in making a difference and being an agent of positive change," he said.

"We will remember him to the end of our days."

Eades said he found preparing his comments more difficult than he thought it would be.

"It's not a lack of things to say about Shawn, but because words seem so inadequate for the task," he said, adding the outpouring of love, support and respect since his brother's death have been overwhelming.

Beverly McGraw and Tamara Friesen, Eades' mother and sister, also attended the service.

Eades, who was born and raised in Hamilton, requested to be buried at the national military cemetery.

At the interment that followed, the sky was filled with scattered clouds and a light breeze blew a nearby Canadian flag at half-mast.

Eades's young daughters were dressed in matching polka dot dresses with pink sashes and wore white bows in their long hair.

Throughout the 90-minute graveside ceremony, they clutched at their mother's side and wept.

 The Windsor Star 2008

'Extraordinarily proud of his service,' sibling says

The Hamilton Spectator, Aug 27, 2008

David Eades remembers the big brother he lost in Afghanistan for his humour, his patriotism and his skill in a dangerous military job.

Hamilton-born and raised Sergeant Shawn Eades was one of three Canadians killed Wednesday by a roadside blast in Afghanistan.

Ontarians lined the 401 Saturday as hearses carried the bodies of Eades and two other soldiers along the Highway of Heroes from Trenton to a Toronto coroner's office. Eades, 33, was a father of two girls with wife Lisa Schamehorn in Edmonton. "That whole experience of the Highway of Heroes, honestly, we were all stunned," David, 32, says. "We wish we could have had a big Thank You sign on the roof."

David says he and Shawn grew up between Hamilton, Winnipeg and Niagara, in part due to their parents' separation. David copied Shawn: he started French immersion after Shawn did, joined air cadets after Shawn joined at age 12.

Their father is deceased but mom Beverly McGraw lives in Hamilton. David works for a Burlington-based concierge service that caters to the wealthy. Sister Tamara Friesen, 30, operates heavy machinery in Chilliwack, B.C. Aunts and uncles live in Hamilton.

After the death a week ago, David says, the military assigned support people to the family. "Shawn was always a patriotic person," David says of his brother, who finished high school in Winnipeg and joined the regular force military out west. "As a member of the air cadets he enjoyed the process and discipline. He was always a bit of a history buff."

David remembers how Shawn looked up the family's military links. Shawn even researched the origins of the term sapper, the name for his job as a combat engineer. A sapper today typically does bridge-building, demolitions and construction.

"He had a good sense of humour. He and I pulled the wool over our mother's eyes more than once," David adds. They enjoyed family camping trips, and practised the martial art of jujitsu, which Shawn also taught fellow soldiers.

Eades died on his fifth tour with the forces. He had been to Bosnia, Kosovo and was on his third rotation in Afghanistan. He received a field promotion to sergeant on his second Afghan tour, David says.

David describes Shawn's job as a challenging one: trying to find, destroy and prevent use of explosives against allied troops. David says this would've been Shawn's final tour, due to his young family, and seniority that would let him decline future postings abroad.

"It's funny how a lot of the questions in the media are about whether the troops should be in Afghanistan. But every soldier that I've spoken with really believes in the mission and making a difference," David says. "He really believed he had to be there to make a difference."

He says the family's support was not shaken by the deaths of the soldiers in 1 Combat Engineer Regiment. Shawn leaves his wife, and daughters Breanna, 7, and Niya, 4.

"Shawn really believed in being there, and we were extraordinarily proud of his service. We always stood behind his decision. We are not going to weigh it, whether his life was spent on a worthwhile cause. Because, for us, it was, as much as we will always miss him and wish he was here."

Eades always wanted to be a soldier

The Hamilton Spectator Aug 23, 2008

Sergeant Shawn Eades always seemed destined for the military.

"He liked the uniform," said friend Dave McKee, who was an air cadet with Eades at the Hamilton 87 Eagle Squadron in Welland, where Eades served through his teenage years. "We pretty much all guessed he was going to stay in it."

He even liked the military food at the squadron, something typical of those who ended up staying in the military, McKee said.

Eades, a 33-year-old father of two girls, was one of three Canadian soldiers killed by a massive roadside blast while working as combat engineers in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Sapper Stephan Stock and Corporal Dustin Wasden were also killed.

All three were slated to return home next month.

A media conference was held yesterday at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton, where a fellow soldier and friend spoke about Eades.

Master Corporal Richard Fiessel was in the same unit as Eades and served with him twice in Afghanistan. He called him a competent leader who mentored him in work and life.

"He was the same age as myself, and he was the kind of guy you looked at like a big brother."

Fiessel said Eades was an extremely hard worker who would train other soldiers in martial arts.

Eades lived in several locations in Western Canada when he was younger. He left for the army reserves in Winnipeg at the end of his teenage years.

When he was an air cadet in Welland, McKee said Eades was "gung-ho" about doing things the proper military way on routine training activities.

"We were just kids. We were having fun but he seemed to really get a kick out of it."

His mother released a written statement to the media yesterday saying her son was very keen about the family's history in the Canadian Forces and knew from a young age that he wanted a career in the military.

"While Shawn will be missed more than words can say, we know that he was pursuing the career that he loved, and he was happy to serve as a member of the Canadian Forces," said Beverly McGraw, a Hamilton resident.

The bodies of the three soldiers are scheduled to return to Canada for a ceremony today (23 August 2008) at 6 p.m. at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

Statement from the family of Sgt. Shawn Eades

Thursday, August 21, 2008, Edmonton, Alberta

My husband Shawn was a proud and dedicated soldier. He was a strong leader who was highly respected by those around him. He died doing what he loved - being a soldier. Shawn was on his third mission in Afghanistan. He believed in what he was doing and he knew he was making a difference for the people there.

Shawn has worn a uniform almost his whole life. He joined Cadets at 12, then he served in the Reserve Force and he joined the Regular Force when he turned 18. As dedicated as Shawn was to his job, he was even more dedicated to his family. He always had strong family values and it was difficult for him to be away, but he always knew that his family would receive great care from his extended family and from the military's services.

Our daughters Breanna, 7, and Niya, 4, were the pride of Shawn's life. We love him and we will miss him.

Lisa Schamehorn

 Edmonton Journal 2008

Canadian soldiers need all clear to fight for a chance at winning

Nigel Hannaford, Calgary Herald, Saturday, August 23, 2008

It is a voice from the dead, telling Canadians how easy it is for the Taliban to make the weapons with which they kill Canadian soldiers.

Priddis freelance documentary filmmaker Garth Pritchard chokes up. On the screen is footage he took four years ago of Sgt. Shawn Eades, then a master-corporal, today one of the fallen on Afghanistan's high and dusty plain.

Eades is standing in the middle of an Afghan bomb factory. In a very matter-of-fact way, he describes contraptions.

"This is a detonator. They took a Bic pen, melted the end, some powder, a few wires. Join the contacts. Saw blades. They make a pressure plate for a mine from this."

He lifts a rag covering a cart like a table cloth. It's the kind of cart Afghan peasants use to take produce to market. Installed beneath is a crude rocket launcher, barely more than a piece of four-inch dryer exhaust pipe.

It's the kind of weapon the Taliban use when they want to attack a Canadian patrol in an Afghan market, and don't care how many of their compatriots they blow up in the process. Or sometimes, they just fill a car with explosive -- like the February day when 30 innocent Afghan shoppers were killed in an attack on a Canadian patrol.

"I lost a friend," Pritchard says of Eades. "He was the best, a true professional."

Eades was one of three Canadian combat engineers killed while performing route reconnaissance, when the vehicle in which they were travelling Thursday struck an improvised explosive device.

Pritchard, who has made a number of trips to Afghanistan and shot hundreds of hours of film there, says that sounds like a mission when combat engineers make routine checks of culverts, a common hiding place for IEDs.

Pritchard's footage also showed Eades handling the raw materials of these bombs -- the very weapon that killed him.

"We're losing over there," says Pritchard, who returned from his last Afghan filming session three weeks ago. "Four years ago, somebody told us where this bomb factory was. But, no more. What's changed?"

Senior army officers don't say that. "I don't know that the Taliban are getting any stronger," says Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, commander of the Forces in Kandahar. "What I would say is that they're much more aggressive this fighting season than they've been in the past."

Nor is the Taliban "holding any of the ground they're attacking us on. . . . So, in the case of an IED strike, they will inflict some casualties, but they don't control the road that they inflicted the casualties on."

Trouble is, until one can travel the road safely, neither does NATO.

So, are we losing or not?

In the sense NATO forces can stay in Afghanistan as long as the Afghan government wants them, no. We're not talking of the kind of military defeat the Russians suffered a generation ago, when their position simply became untenable.

But neither are NATO forces being allowed to win, something Pritchard attributes to restrictive rules of engagement.

The Predator is an armed aerial surveillance drone with remarkable and classified abilities to detect targets.

"The Predator is U.S. property. Normally we don't have the use of it, but one day we did and it picks up three bad guys. They're the senior management in the area, we think they're the people behind the big jail break. We ask for permission to launch (A missile). It's denied, too many other people around. We see these people get in a truck. They drive off. Rules of engagement. "

Another film clip. A Canadian colonel instructs a captain to expose his men to enemy fire. "What he's saying is we know they're there, but we can't shoot at them unless they shoot at us. Rules of engagement. It's like we're more worried about their innocent lives than our innocent lives, so some Canadian kid has to stick his neck out. Canadian commanders know how to win this war. We should let them do it. But we don't. We're in a war, but we're treating it like peacemaking."

Years ago, I asked a Canadian general how Ottawa could possibly play fast and loose with Canadian peacekeepers' lives, by sending them out with unloaded guns. He shrugged and said when you signed up, you agreed to become the Queen's unthinking enforcer, to be used as her government saw fit. Nobody said it was going to be fair, or make sense.

Nor is it the first time there's been a suggestion that western soldiers have been asked to fight with one hand tied behind their backs. Talk to a Vietnam veteran. But, creating a desert and calling it peace isn't the Canadian way, either.

I do not believe orders came from the Prime Minister's Office to treat innocent Afghan lives as more valuable than those of Canadian soldiers. However, one would have to be wilfully blind to ignore the political realities: Neither Canadian deaths on a large scale, nor accidental Afghan deaths as a result of Canadian military action, is good news at Sussex Drive with an election in 14 months at the max.

Pritchard says the rules of engagement should be changed so Canadian soldiers can win, or they should be brought home.

Perhaps officialdom is right. But, obviously, the victory parade won't be soon.

 The Calgary Herald 2008

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