EDMONTON – The family of 20-year-old Private Steven Allen says they are heartbroken and have many unanswered questions about the training accident that ultimately took his life.
Still, they are remembering Allen as a strong, brave young man who was fulfilling his dream by serving in the Canadian Forces.
The family is also thanking the military for its support.
Allen died after he was injured during a training exercise at CFB Wainwright, Alta on Monday.
The 20-year-old Victoria man and another soldier were inside a tactical structure when it collapsed.
He was flown to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton where he died of his injuries.
In a statement, Allen’s family said:
“We would like to thank the Canadian military for the awesome assistance we have received during our time of sorrow. Special thanks go out to Captain Jocelyn Roy and Padre Joe Almeida for their care and understanding.
“We would also like to recognize the hard work and dedication of the medical staff at the University Hospital area 4A4, nurses Shelley, Alison and Xerxes and Dr. Mary Stephens.
“We are heartbroken and have many unanswered questions about how this accident occurred.
“The military life was what Steven wanted since he was a young man and he was fulfilling this dream in the short time he had with 2 PPCLI.
“Steven was following his dreams and, despite many obstacles, he never gave up.
“He wanted to serve his country and was so happy to be part of the military.
“During the past year Steven transformed from a boy into the man that we all know and are so proud of.
“He was strong, brave and happier in this last year than ever before.
“When he joined the Forces, he gained a whole new family and we want to acknowledge his military brothers and sisters and the loss they are feeling right now.
“He died a soldier, a warrior. We love you Steven.
“These tragic circumstances have taken us all by surprise. In the future we will be more than willing to discuss the circumstances regarding this tragedy, however at the moment we ask for some privacy so that we can continue our grieving process.”
Allen had completed his Basic Military Qualification in February 2014 and had not served overseas.
He was training to become a fully-qualified Regular Force Infantry soldier. Allen was recruited out of Victoria in 2013 and was posted to 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre in Wainwright.
This is the second Canadian soldier to die in a training exercise at the base this year. In May, Lt.-Col. Dan Bobbitt was killed when a Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV III) rolled over during Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 14 (Ex MR 14), Canada’s largest military training mission.
CFB Wainwright is located about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.