Northerners who knew Cpl. Jordan Anderson, who was killed this week in Afghanistan, described the 25-year-old as a friendly person who loved parachuting and was close toearning a political science degree.
Anderson was a member of the Edmonton-based 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry — as were three of thesix soldiers who died Wednesday when their armoured vehicle struck a massive roadside bomb near Kandahar. An Afghan interpreter was also killed.
In releasing his name Thursday, the Canadian Forces cited Anderson's hometown as Iqaluit, where he was born. However, he grew up in Pelly Bay, Tuktoyaktuk and Invuik in the Northwest Territories.
He was the first soldier from the North to die in the Afghanistan mission, in which66 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed since 2002.
"Oh, it's pretty sad to me," said Eddie Dillon, who was mayor of Tuktoyaktuk when Anderson attended elementary school there in the 1980s.
Dillon said people in his community are upset by the news of Anderson's death and have been sharing their memories of him.
"He was outgoing, friendly. I mean he was always out visiting and playing with the other kids around our community," he said. "Open to anybody to talk to. No different than his dad."
James Anderson, Jordan's father and a retired educator, told CBC News on Thursday that his son's six-month tour of Afghanistan was just weeks from ending, and he was expected home in time for his birthday and second wedding anniversary.
An avid rugby and football player, Jordan completed high school at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask. He was one course shy of receiving a bachelor degree in political science, his father said, adding that Jordan wanted to pursue a master's degree in strategic studies.
Eddie Lavoie, who attended the same church in Inuvik as the Anderson family, said he last saw Jordan Anderson in Edmonton last year.
"He was just telling me how he loved parachuting," Lavoie recalled. "Parachuting was one of the reasons that he was going to renew his contract to remain in the army for, I think, approximately another three years."
James Anderson said his family will join Jordan's wife in Edmonton before they travel to Trenton, Ont., for the arrival of Jordan's body back in Canada.