"He had this sense of duty, but [also] comradeship with the other people he had been training with. He felt he wanted to go with them," Jim Davis said in an interview from his home in Bridgewater, N.S.

"I am an extremely proud dad," he added. "I'm very proud of my son Paul. I believed in what he was doing, 100 per cent."

Paul Davis was married and had two children, aged three and five.

"I believe Paul died serving his country and serving the free world and that's the message I would like to get out," his father said.

"My prayers are with the other parents of those boys who are struggling with their lives right now," said Jim Davis.

"I would also like you to know that I am an extremely proud dad. I'm very proud of my son Paul. I believed in what he was doing 100 per cent and to his friends in Afghanistan, if they're listening to me, I want them to know I'm 100 per cent behind all of them."

He added that he does not believe his son felt unsafe in the vehicles, despite criticisms that they are prone to tipping over.

"There's a lot of talk about Canadian military not having the latest equipment, but when I talked to Paul he said no, that's not necessarily true. They were confident in the equipment they had."

Davis said his son was a strong believer in what troops are accomplishing in Afghanistan, and said he worries that a mounting death toll will shake Canada's resolve to continue its mission there.

"I fear a huge debate on why we're in Afghanistan would endanger the lives of our soldiers because it entices or encourages the insurgents to keep up the battle," he said.

Meanwhile, friends and loved ones filed into the Davis home on Thursday to offer their support to the family. The last time Davis spent time with them was over the Christmas break, before he was sent off to the mission in Afghanistan on Jan. 23.

The corporal's stepmother, Sharon Davis, said she is devastated -- but said she recognizes that loss is a reality of war.

"And we need to support the effort because if it isn't stopped it will just get worse -- and our shores are not safe," she said.

It's a message Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying to hammer home to every Canadian. At a news conference Wednesday, he pledged unwavering support to the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and issued a stern rebuke to Liberal MPs who have questioned Canada's role in the war-torn nation. Harper followed that on Thursday by joining 1,500 troops at an Ottawa Senators hockey game for Canadian Forces appreciation night -- where the sacrifice of Cpl. Davis was honoured.

Before the game, Canada's chief of defence staff, Gen. Rick Hillier, accepted a Senators jersey in appreciation and saluted his troops.

"They do everything we ask of them as a country. They do without regard to their lives and we saw the impact of that and what that could mean today when we lost Corporal Paul Davis in an accident in Afghanistan," said Hillier.

Back in Bridgewater, Jim Davis smiled and choked back tears as he reminisced about his son, who loved to play hockey as a child and was nicknamed "Smiley" by his teammates.

"He used to get a lot of penalties," he joked.

The last image he remembers of Paul was seeing him and his fellow soldiers off at the military strip of the Winnipeg airport.

"They were all looking forward to it, nervous of course. The image I have in my mind right now is the last glance I got from Paul when I said goodbye to him, just as he was about to board the plane. He was smiling."