Life be­yond the bat­tle­field

Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate stu­dents hear war­time ac­counts dur­ing poignant re­mem­brance cer­e­mony

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

An emo­tional slideshow, beau­ti­ful mu­si­cal per­for­mances and sto­ries from two vet­er­ans of armed con­flict high­lighted the Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate re­mem­brance cer­e­monies on the morn­ing of Nov. 7.

Par­ents, stu­dents, teach­ers, lo­cal cadets and spe­cial guests filled the gym­na­sium to hear the tales of Afghanistan vet­eran War­rant Of­fi­cer Shel­don Her­ritt and Sgt. Hal Evely, a re­tiree from the United States Army who served in Viet­nam.

Both men ex­pe­ri­enced great losses dur­ing their front­line du­ties, and re­layed the mes­sage in their ad­dresses to the crowd.

Her­ritt vol­un­teered

Her­ritt was born in Rose Blanche, a small com­mu­nity on the south­west coast of the is­land por­tion of New­found­land and Labrador, with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 1,000.

While at­tend­ing Me­mo­rial Univer­sity, Her­ritt joined the mil­i­tary re­serves to help pay for his school. It was dur­ing that time he gained a pas­sion for the armed forces, and de­cided to vol­un­teer for a de­ploy­ment to Afghanistan.

Trained in com­bat, ar­tillery and sur­vival tech­niques, among oth­ers, Her­ritt left Canada in Fe­bru­ary 2007 for his tour of duty as a com­bat engi­neer.

One of his im­por­tant jobs in­cluded be­ing re­spon­si­ble for ex­plo­sives, some­thing that al­most killed him.

On March 20, Her­ritt was hit with some 50 pieces of shrap­nel, pierc­ing all over his body, then re­fused to be trans­ferred home. Her­ritt re­cov­ered af­ter four weeks and headed back to the bat­tle­field.

He con­cluded his ad­dress af­ter a slideshow of pho­tos and videos that gave a look at what was ex­pe­ri­enced on the bat­tle­field, in­clud­ing pho­tos of com­rades car­ry­ing a cas­ket draped in a Cana­dian flag.

“For us vet­er­ans, ev­ery day is Re­mem­brance Day,” Her­ritt told the at­ten­tive crowd, not­ing his fallen friends will al­ways be re­mem­bered for their ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/Spe­cial to The Com­pass

War­rant Of­fi­cer Shel­don Her­ritt is a vet­eran of the con­flict in Afghanistan. He is for­merly from Rose Blanche, but cur­rently calls St. John’s home.

Alyssa Broom­field sings a touch­ing and sad ren­di­tion of “The Cruel War” by Peter. Paul and Mary. Dur­ing her solo, a slideshow cre­ated by fel­low stu­dent Erin Jones de­pict­ing war­time was dis­played on a large screen.

Spe­cial guests Linda Mur­phy from Fresh­wa­ter, Car­bon­ear (right) and Linda Butt, who is liv­ing in Heart’s De­light, are two moth­ers whose sons, Davis Mur­phy and Shawn Butt, are cur­rently serv­ing on the HMCS Toronto in the Mid­dle East.

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