Sergeant Kevin Sheehan, 36, killed in Iraq

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(Host) In Milton, Sergeant Kevin Sheehan is being remembered as a friend, father, and co-worker who wore a constant smile. The news of the National Guardsman’s death also hit hard in the Milton school, where some of the school children had exchanged letters with troops in Iraq.

VPR’s John Dillon reports.

(Dillon) Sergeant Kevin Sheehan worked as a project manager for Engineers Construction of South Burlington. Mike Colby worked with him on many projects, most recently when they built an addition at the Camp Johnson National Guard base in Colchester.

(Colby) “Kevin was a nice, real easy-going guy. What I remember most about Kevin was his smile. He really didn’t let anything bother him at all.”

(Dillon) Colby says the 36-year old Sheehan was an unflappable co-worker who was skilled at construction and design work. Sheehan was married with two young children, one in day care and one in kindergarten at the Milton school. He was sent overseas in March, and Colby says Sheehan was worried about leaving home.

(Colby) “It’s tough anytime you leave, and you have two young children.”

(Dillon) Sheehan’s wife, Heather, said through a family friend that the family was in mourning. In Milton, the town seems ready to do anything they can for the Sheehan family.

School officials have also stepped up to help Milton schoolchildren, many of whom have relatives serving in Iraq. School administrator Eileen Levitt says one group of sixth graders in Milton sent letters and care packages to troops in Iraq. She says some had corresponded with Sheehan directly. Levitt says guidance counselors have met with those students.

(Levitt) “The kids, you know, are sad. Some of them are scared. They’re concerned about their relatives who are in Iraq or who might be sent to Iraq. It’s, you know, it’s a very difficult time for children, and for adults for that matter.”

(Dillon) At the Milton town hall, town clerk John Cushing says Sergeant Sheehan’s death brings the war close to home.

(Cushing) “I mean every day, every hour, every news article, you know, we hear this. And certainly, it’s very depressing to hear it. And yeah, this brought it home. And certainly, we’re all thinking about it. That’s for sure.”

(Dillon) Officials in Milton are planning to remember the fallen Guardsman at Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Milton.

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