Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Journey Continues : Sapper Steven Marshall`s Jersey

About a year ago I started following Dave Murphy (@thankasoldier) on Twitter. We finally met in person several months later and I got to find out more about what he does in his “spare time” to support allied troops and their families. I was amazed at the amount of time and emotion he put into his volunteer work, all in the name of helping soldiers and their loved ones.

It was because of Dave that I met Murray Marshall, and got to find out more about Murray’s son, Sapper Steven Marshall. Steven was killed in combat in October of 2009, while serving in Afghanistan. In tribute to his son, Murray had Steven’s Calgary Flames jersey customized to include his name, regiment patch and the yellow “support our troops” ribbon. The jersey has been all over the city of Calgary, as well as other places.
Dave Murphy & Murray Marshall talking about Stevens Jersey

In February, Dave and Murray graciously agreed to speak to my Scouting group and tell them about Steven, and about Dave’s work through the web site. Murray brought along Steven’s jersey and offered it to me to wear to a Calgary Flames home game.

I was honoured beyond words to be able to pay tribute to someone like Steven who had served our country and lost his life as a result. I proudly told everyone I spoke to about the jersey and why I was wearing it. Singing O Canada has never had such an emotional effect on me, nor made me prouder to be Canadian.

Perhaps the best part of the whole experience for me was talking to Steven’s dad, Murray. Listening to him talk about his son, and seeing the emotion in his eyes range from sadness for his loss, to joy and pride in his son’s accomplishments throughout his brief life, was nothing short of amazing. What struck me most was Murray’s desire to tell the story of his son’s life, and to encourage people to find out about all our fallen soldiers - to get to know them as the people they were, not merely the name they had become in the news. His passion is overwhelming. After I returned Steven’s jersey and thanked Murray, I drove home in tears.

I pray that I will never have to experience the grief that Murray must have endured with the loss of his son. I also hope that I can, in my own small way, continue to honour Steven’s memory and the memory of all our fallen soldiers.

Connie & Ken King, President and Chief Executive Officer

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