Dave Deibert, The StarPhoenix Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2006

DALMENY -- Loyalty. It was a word Cpl. Shane Keating lived by.

Even after his family moved from Dalmeny to Saskatoon prior to his Grade 12 year, Keating was still a part of the group he had grown up with. That's why he went with his former classmates on a trip to England and Scotland over Easter break in 1994. He had been a part of the fundraising for two years in Dalmeny and wasn't going to miss out on the voyage with his best friends.

Another time, he and two of his teenage buddies were climbing the town's grain elevators, getting into harmless mischief that young boys do. Keating got caught. The others got away. He took the punishment all by himself, said one of the culprits, Tyler Prosofsky. Prosofsky knew Keating since the two of them were barely old enough to walk or talk. Keating, Prosofsky said with a smile, would never rat out his buddies.

Keating was showing loyalty and heart earlier this week as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. He was part of the team, doing whatever he could to make things better, one gesture at a time.

"When he committed himself, it was very much a commitment," said Garry Smith, longtime principal of Dalmeny High School.

Keating, along with three other members of the Canadian military, was killed on Monday in Afghanistan. He was 30.

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Keating -- who grew up in Dalmeny, a town of roughly 1,800 people, before moving to Saskatoon and graduating from Bishop Mahoney High School in 1994 -- was identified Tuesday as one of four Canadian soldiers who died on Monday in southern Afghanistan.

Keating, Cpl. Keith Morley, Cpl. Glen Arnold and Pte. David Byers were killed when a suicide bomber travelling on a bicycle detonated a bomb near Canadian troops.

The soldiers were conducting a foot patrol at approximately 9:30 a.m. in the Panjwaii district, roughly 30 kilometres west of Kandahar. The attack occurred as the soldiers were walking along a dirt road after handing out school supplies, toys, balls and biscuits to local children. The blast from the explosion was so powerful it killed a cow 70 metres away.

Keating, Morley and Byers were members of Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Man. Arnold was from 2 Field Ambulance, based in Petawawa, Ont.

"We love Shane very much and we are proud of all that he has accomplished," Judith Budd, Keating's mother, said in a statement.

"Shane was very proud of his service and believed in what he was doing."

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Word spread through Dalmeny starting late Monday. On Tuesday, the news became public.

There were tears shed. Prosofsky's mother broke down as soon as he told her the news.

There were those in disbelief.

"It's a sense almost like a numbness," said Glen Kehler, a longtime staff member at Dalmeny High School, who taught Keating for several years.

Kehler talked with one of his classes about Keating's death. The silence from the stunned students was deafening. Even though Keating was far removed in age from the current crop of students, it was still a personal loss for them.

"Here's somebody out of Dalmeny High School that's now died in the line of duty," Kehler said.