James lived life to the fullest and nothing summed his philosophy up better than the words of Jedi Master Yoda of Star Wars: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

And James did. He travelled to Europe, New Zealand and Australia; climbed Kilimanjaro; went on an African safari; swam with the sharks; completed a three-day Sea to Summit race; sky dived and bungee jumped; and hiked the West Coast Trail. But more than anything, he believed that life had to be different for people who lived in Afghanistan.

James graduated from high school half a term early and earned a technology certificate. He worked in the field for three years but finally gave in to his lifelong desire: to be a soldier like his namesake, grandfather Jim Hayward, and his father Raymond Arnal, who both served with the PPCLI. He joined at the age of 21 for the adventure. But he signed on for a second tour because of his experiences and the firm belief that everybody – especially those living in an impoverished country – deserved a better, fair life. And he was proud to be part of the Canadian forces, who helped bring stability and peace to the war-ravished country.

James had the ability to challenge people, to make them want to try harder and do better. He had the ability to combine his strength with a good-natured manner that made him not only professional and quick-acting but caring and supportive. He had the ability to make those around him feel special and to boost morale.

To honour James, the Manitoba government named a northern lake Arnal Lake in November 2010. A fitting tribute to man who loved the outdoors and lived life to the fullest.

By Shari Narine

Portrait by Cindy Revell