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Corporal Étienne Gonthier

February 3, 1986 - January 23, 2008
Hometown: St. Georges de Beauce, Quebec
Unit: 5 Combat Engineer Regiment, Valcartier, Quebec


Étienne was a big-hearted, high-spirited, reliable man, who was always willing to help others. Known as the clown of the battalion, Étienne made it his mission to keep everyone happy.

At the age of 18, Étienne joined the military, to his family’s surprise. A tall and skinny man, he built up his muscles when he joined the army, loving every minute of it. He was a light-armoured vehicle driver in the infantry and, on his first foreign mission, was promoted from sapper to corporal, but never had the chance to wear his rank.

An avid hockey player, rollerblader, and video gamer, Étienne made an effort to be active and was never one to stay home. He enjoyed spending many a time hanging around the campfire with friends. He moved in with Cinthia, his girlfriend of four years, shortly before his tour of duty began. He was in constant contact with his family, by phone or Internet, while he was in Afghanistan.

In a Facebook tribute to her lost love, Cinthia said, "I am writing you a last goodbye. I could never forget you are my first love and fate put an end to it ... I will never forget you." Many of Étienne’s friends also paid tribute to him online, saying he was “always smiling” and maintained “a good mood despite the hardships.”

Étienne will be remembered for his ambitious nature and bravery. Called “Jellybean” by friends, he always made an effort to take care of those around him. He never complained, no matter what surrounded him, and remained positive throughout his war experiences. The military was Étienne’s life and he achieved great success in the profession he chose.

By:  Kaylen Small

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