Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Memorial Service for Sergeant Jeffrey Shaver
May 22, 2004
We gather this afternoon in deep grief and somber gratitude. To mourn the loss of a cherished friend and dedicated Washington National Guardsman, Sergeant Jeffrey R. Shaver. But also to give thanks for all that he gave us.
On behalf of our entire state, Mona and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Sergeant Shaver’s parents, Jane and John; his sisters, Gwen and Sakura; his fiancée, Charity; and his many friends. Our hearts and prayers go out to you in this time of loss and sorrow.
As we mourn this tragic loss, we take solace in knowing that Jeff leaves a profoundly rich legacy. A legacy of service, sacrifice, love and honor. A legacy of deep devotion to his family, profound loyalty to his friends, and an endless passion for helping others. Jeff touched and influenced so many, many lives. It is clear from the video that he was a fun-loving young man. And I’ve learned from his mom and fiancée Charity that he and Charity loved the outdoors.
Washington National Guard members are our friends and neighbors. They are firefighters, farmers, and business owners. Grocery clerks, software engineers, and doctors. Teachers, truck drivers, and accountants. And medical assistants. Civilians who come from all walks of life with one thing in common—they are all volunteers with an abiding commitment to service and, if need be, sacrifice.
Members of the Washington State National Guard stand ready to respond to state emergencies. Be it natural disasters, civil disturbances, or assisting the full time military. They stand ready to be mobilized, federalized and placed into active military service.
They are quiet heroes. And Sergeant Jeffrey Shavers was just such a quiet hero. He served as he lived—dedicated to saving lives, easing suffering and healing hurt. He was devoted in his calling to the end, and gave the last full measure of devotion.
Tragedy has a human face, and war an all too human cost. We are somberly reminded of this as we bid Jeff Shaver farewell. It is sadly ironic that in Jeff’s selfless determination to save lives, he lost his own. We will miss him, and we cast our shadows in a colder world without him. Yet the world is a better, more humane place for his 26 years here.
Jeff paid the ultimate price. With love of country in his heart and courage in his soul, he entered the valley of death. For all of us, and for people in a foreign land. And we must never forget his sacrifice. Let his kind spirit and loving example forever remind us to heed the better angels of our nature.
God Bless the soul of Sergeant Jeffrey Shaver. God Bless his loved ones. And God Bless the many men and women in uniform who serve and sacrifice to protect our country and our way of life, and freedom-loving people around the world.