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September 5, 2009

Soldier recalled as 'ray of sunshine'

AMESBURY — Jordan Shay, the 22-year-old Amesbury native who was killed in Iraq this week, was remembered by his friends and family yesterday as a "ray of sunshine" who knew how to be a friend.

"Jordan was the most wonderful kid I ever met," his aunt, Dawn Palmer, said yesterday. "He was kind, considerate, thoughtful, full of adventure. He's done more in his 22 years than I'd ever do."

Palmer, of Seabrook, N.H., said her nephew loved to hike and go diving.

He had purchased a diamond engagement ring and planned to propose to his girlfriend, Kelsey Chandonnet, when he returned from Iraq. The two met in school and had been dating for three years, she said. "It would have been longer if he had his way ... he was chasing after her forever."

Shay died from injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover accident on Sept. 3, Sgt. Pallas A. Wahl, a public affairs spokeswoman for the Massachusetts National Guard said yesterday. There is an ongoing investigation of the accident, she said. Also killed in the accident was Army Sgt. Todd Selge, 25, originally of Burnsville, Minn. Selge and Shay appear to have been friends — Selge posted greetings and messages on Shay's MySpace pages.

Selge's wife told her hometown newspaper in Burnsville that the two were killed when their vehicle fell 60 feet off a bridge.

Shay, a 2005 Amesbury High School graduate, was a specialist in the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, based in Fort Lewis, Wash. He was serving his second tour of duty and was stationed in Baqubah, Iraq. He had been deployed on this tour just last month.

An only child, Shay lost his father, Michael, to cancer when he was only 2 years old, family spokeswoman Joanne Ross said in a statement.

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