State House passes Shea resolution honoring National Guard

The state House of Representatives passed a resolution Monday noting the 373rd birthday of the National Guard, and commending members of the Washington National Guard for their record of commitment and service to their communities, the state and the nation.

The resolution (HR 4602) was sponsored by freshman Rep. Matt Shea, who served combat tours as an Army platoon leader in Bosnia and company commander and logistics officer in Iraq.

As Washington National Guard members watched from the House gallery, Shea paid tribute to the Guard’s long and proud legacy, from its founding in 1636 to its contemporary role in today’s “Army of One.”

“It’s been the duty and honor of the Guard, for all these many years, to support, defend and protect our homeland,” said Shea, R-Mead. “As I stand before you today, the 81st Brigade of the Washington Army National Guard is deployed in Iraq — four thousand of our fellow citizens. In 2005, I was a company commander in the 81st Brigade in Iraq, and today, as a state legislator, I am proud to represent many members of the Guard, men and women, who have unselfishly and courageously served our state.”

Sometimes, said Shea, courage means the hero is not coming home, and he recounted the bravery and sacrifice of Sgt. Jeff Shaver, a 26-year-old medic in his command who was killed in action in Iraq.

“A 500-pound bomb blew up just six feet from his Humvee, and Sergeant Shaver was killed instantly,” Shea said, remembering that the man died “with a smile on his face,” a testament to the young soldier’s valour, dedication to service and love of his country.

“America remains strong, safe and free because generations of patriots, like Sergeant Shaver, have sacrificed everything,” Shea added as he look to the Guard members in the gallery. “The blood, sweat and tears of those heroes are too often overlooked in the crush of everyday problems and our current economic crisis. But not today. Today, the House of Representatives proudly salutes your sacrifice and your service. May God bless you all.”

The House went on to approve the resolution unanimously.

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Washington State House Republican Communications