A fallen hero is being remembered today as a soldier and a paramedic who gave his heart to both his country and his city.
But 36-year-old Cpl. Michael Starker’s wife, family and friends say that he also gave his heart and soul to all of them and is mourned as a true family man taken far too soon.
“Always quick with a laugh, a joke and his trademark mischievous smile, Mike had many friends and was respected by everyone,” his family said in a statement.
They describe him as a born leader who died doing what he loved, as he was killed providing help in Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Starker’s commanding officer of the 15 Field Ambulance Lt. Col. Roger Scott spoke of their last meeting just before he left in December for his second tour.
“It’s emotional; I would like to think of our unit as very close — like a family — and a member of our family was lost,” Scott said.
A close friend and fellow paramedic Cpl. Alasdair Roberston-More announced yesterday he would still continue his mission to Southeast Asia on a navy ship.
“I thought about it a lot and it would have been easy to say no, it’s too much I’m not going. But that wasn’t the way Michael was. I’m still going,” he told reporters, three hours before shipping out.
That doesn’t mean it was an easy decision though.
“Both she (his wife) and Mike never knew the word quit,” he said, choking backs tears, unable to finish.
Starker’s body was on its way back to Canada yesterday after a ceremony for his fellow servicemen and women stationed in Afghanistan to bid a final goodbye to their fallen comrade.