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Remembering Ed

Friends gather in honor of Edward W. Shaffer

Friends gather in honor of Edward W. Shaffer

January 05, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - More than a dozen members of the graduating class of 2002 at Waynesboro Area Senior High School gathered on the lawn of Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home on Thursday, remembering a classmate who died Dec. 27 from injuries suffered in Iraq.

Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, whose funeral begins at 11 a.m. today, suffered extensive burns when a roadside bomb exploded near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in mid-November.

The Mont Alto, Pa., soldier will be remembered by many as a quiet, sweet person who shared lighthearted moments with friends.

"He was never the star of the show, but his laugh was contagious," said Wyatt Whitsel, 23, of Waynesboro.

Several people attended the visitation in uniform, but even more said they had served or were serving in branches of the military. One reservist who returned from Iraq in 2004 estimated that half of Waynesboro's graduates from 2002 have enlisted in the military.

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"We had an excellent class," said James C. Simmons, 22, of Waynesboro.

Shaffer's death localizes the war and reinforces the value of friendship, said Simmons, the class president.

Hugging and hand-holding were common among the 20-somethings, many of whom had waited more than half an hour in line at the visitation.

Sporadic laughter wasn't uncommon as Whitsel and other members of a close-knit group shared memories made while playing video games and dining out.

"We had a carefree relationship," Whitsel said. "There were never 'Dawson's Creek' moments."

While a participant in baseball, track, football and hunting over the years, Shaffer's humor was the outstanding memory for many. They swapped stories about practical jokes, primarily involving water guns.

Shaffer had seemingly found the secret tricks to winning the GoldenEye 007 video game, friends said.

"It was usually three-on-one, and we usually lost," said Adam Geesaman, 22, of Waynesboro.

Shaun Kipe, 23, of Waynesboro, said Shaffer had a good work ethic.

Kipe remembers his two years of running 800-meter races with Shaffer in middle school. The pair would frequently complain about training, according to Kipe.

"Even though we would say those things, Ed would just do what was asked," Kipe said.

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