IN MEMORY- Kylie Clark ties a yellow ribbon around a tree in Lacombe in memory of Master Cpl. Byron Garth Greff

IN MEMORY- Kylie Clark ties a yellow ribbon around a tree in Lacombe in memory of Master Cpl. Byron Garth Greff

Community in mourning

Yellow ribbons line the streets of Lacombe as residents mourn the loss of Master Cpl. Byron Garth Greff who was killed over the weekend while serving in Afghanistan.

Greff was killed by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while traveling through Kabul as a passenger on an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 29.

His body arrived in Trenton yesterday where Governor General of Canada David Johnston, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk and other dignitaries were there to pay their respects.

He was the first Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since Canada ended its mission in July. He was the 158th soldier killed Afghanistan.

On his second deployment to the war-torn country, Greff’s role was to advise Afghan National Army trainers who provide recruit training to Afghan soldiers.

Greff joined the Canadian Forces in 2001 and had been serving with the Third Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry since 2002. In his spare time, Greff enjoyed hunting and hockey.

He graduated from Lacombe Composite High School in 2001. He leaves behind a wife, son and daughter who live in Morinville.

Greff’s family released a statement through the military on Monday.

“We are all so proud of Byron; proud of him as a father, son, brother, uncle, grandson and soldier,” the statement said.

In the statement the family also spoke about Greff’s decision to join the military.

“Our family is not a military one so it was a shock to us when he decided to join the Canadian Army. It was a big shock. Byron, in his younger years, was probably as far from being a military man as one could get. But we supported him and were all very happy that he had found his way to this new life and excelled at it.”

Greff’s family also talked about his love for hockey and his personality.

“Byron was always very active and enjoyed not only watching hockey, but playing it as well, which included teaching his son some of the finer points of the game,” the statement read. “His sense of humour was hard to surpass. He was always good for a joke, had a wonderful laugh and was able to lighten the mood at just the right time. He was very social and willing to chat with pretty much anyone. In that respect, Byron was very much like his mother.

“Byron was an amazing person, an amazing father and a wonderful husband. We want to stress how proud we are of him, of all that he has done. There was never any doubt from us when he left on this most recent deployment. He was doing what he wanted to do and he was good at it. We will always remember his strong will, his love for his family and friends and the fact that he was arguably the best dad – ever.”

Local funeral services hadn’t been announced at press time.