Cpl. Bryce Keller always cared for others. From the young age of six when he stood alongside classmates to keep them from being alone to his last moments when he stood in the face of enemy fire to protect those who served alongside him. Cpl. Keller was a man of great valour.
Bryce, or “Bryceronie” as they liked to call him, was born and raised in Regina, SK. Growing up, he was an all-around kid, taking part in many activities from Boy Scouts to little leagues, altar boy to playing football in high school. During the summers he loved to go camping, leading his younger brothers on numerous adventures, further developing his love for the great outdoors and in the end it was this love that motivated him to join the military.
Apart from being an athletic man Bryce was as well an academic. He enjoyed opening up a good book or playing a game of chess. He graduated high school with honours and even attended first year engineering in university; he was an intelligent, honest, hardworking, and trustworthy man. He was known to have the goofiest laugh and the wackiest sense of humour, being the practical joker as a kid. Bryce grew to become a strong and determined man. This quality drove him to always want to do something, try something new and push things to the limit. Once he set his mind on something, there was no stopping him from achieving his goal. His determination meant working hard to achieve something, including respect, and that’s what he did as a child and as an adult.
He had the ability to ‘read’ people. He could be brutally honest, having no time for people who weren’t upfront and honest. He instinctively knew who he could trust and that made trusting him easy.
At times Bryce could be a contradiction. He loved to impress people with his toughness and physical strength, being the athlete but he always had a soft and sensitive side that showed in the things he did for those he cared deeply for. Bryce’s mother, Helen, recalls a time when Bryce asked her to show him how to make shortbread cookies for his wife Sarah, who was in Afghanistan at the time. “He asked me to show him how to make shortbread cookies because she liked them so much. Here was this big, tough soldier cutting out heart shaped cookies and decorating them with tons of pink and red decorations so they would be ‘pretty’ for her. But, of course, Bryce couldn’t resist eating them all before she got home so she only received an e-mailed picture of them!” It was through simple, sweet actions like these that Bryce showed he cared for those around him.
Bryce loved to draw and build things, briefly working in construction prior to his enlistment. He kept a notebook where he drew sketches, one of which was of a tattoo he had wanted with his wife Sarah’s initials. The notebook was filled with sketches of what he planned on building or had already built. Sarah recalls how he had built a beautiful wooden chest for her sewing supplies.
He was a lover of animals and as he grew so did the pets he cared for. From turtles, birds, and hamsters, to cats and ferrets, and finally to Finn and Mia (a Doberman and Lab cross), which were his best friends. This love for animals drove Bryce to volunteer for the Edmonton Humane Society, where he took dogs for long walks and exercise. He always took care of those around him. And as a kind and compassionate human being Bryce hated to hurt people’s feelings, especially those very close to him.
But above all, Bryce was a simple man, who loved the simple things. He loved perogies, liver and onions, a good steak, going to the movies, reading, sports, hiking, camping, and relaxing on his couch. He deeply loved and cared for those around him and they loved and cared for him.
Cpl. Keller was awarded with the Military medal of Valour (Posthumous). While exposed in intense enemy fire in Afghanistan, Cpl. Keller demonstrated courage and leadership in order to allow his comrades to attend a critically wounded soldier. Cpl. Keller made the ultimate sacrifice that day but his selfless actions contributed to saving lives and enabled his platoon to hold vital terrain until reinforcements arrived.
By: Tigest Mulugeta