The love Cole had for his large, close-knit family was the same love he had for his country. That love led him to enlist right out of high school. He embraced the army fully, telling everyone he served with a great group of guys, and signed up for a second tour of Afghanistan. He served for five years.

Cole was a joker, easy-going, and could make anybody laugh. His friends remember him as not being shy or quiet, but never having to be the focus of attention in the room. He loved to have fun, but he was also dependable, always there to help his family and friends. He also showed commitment and determination, never giving up on what he started.

There was a rugged side to Cole. He enjoyed all things outdoors: spending time at the lake, camping, waterskiing, swimming, riding on quads, playing volleyball and other sports. He was a daredevil and loved to jump out of airplanes. His strength and ability to carry so much led to his nickname, “The Donk,” short for “Donkey.” He enjoyed tinkering around with his father’s logging truck.

But there was also a quiet side, which had Cole revelling in collecting comic books, especially first editions, and taking time to enjoy “The X-Men,” his heroes. He loved to cook and could make a full meal out of nothing.

Cole lived by the words of Winston Churchill, whose quote he posted on his Facebook page: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others.”

By Shari Narine

Portrait by Cindy Revell