Community Mourns Corunna Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

A soldier from Corunna has been killed in Afghanistan. Army Private First Class Shane Cantu was killed Tuesday when an explosive device went off inside his base while he and other troops were eating in Afghanistan.

"I feel like a part of me left yesterday. I hope someday that I can get through it. He's just that special of a young man," said Mike Sullivan, Cantu's football coach.

Cantu was well liked in his community. A member of the class of 2010, he graduated from Corunna High School just two years ago. He was 20 years old. The principal says he was a good student and very hard working.

"I knew Shane very well as a student, an exemplary person, very positive, very strong personality, charismatic, always a smile on his face," said Leo Constine, Principal of Corunna High School. "It is a very deep shock. Obviously every community that loses a soldier goes through the same thing. This time it happens to be Shiawasee County the Corunna area."

Shane Cantu was known as number six on the football team, and he truly loved the game. He played for three years and was the team captain his senior year.

"In our high school, he was one heck of a football and basketball player," said Ashley Neal, Cantu's classmate. "He was a very funny and intelligent guy and definitely hard working."

"I couldn't have been more proud of anybody that I've ever been associated with," said Sullivan. "He has done more, and sometimes, everyone says he's like my adopted son. In reality is he has taught me more about life than I think I've ever taught him."

"He just had everyone's back," said Brennin Adkins, Cantu's teammate. "He was always there for you. He outworked everyone. At practice he would out run you he would do everything to be the best to be the leader," said Adkins "He always had everyone's back. He was just the great friend, the great citizen. He just wanted to help everybody. He wanted to be that guy."

Cantu had only recently gone to Afghanistan.

"He chose the military as a natural extension of his life here, of his years," said Principal Constine. "He likes to be part of a team. He liked to be involved in things. He liked commitment. He was always willing to serve."

Those close to the family say was there for less than a month.

"If you went to school at Corunna, you knew Shane Cantu. He walked the halls with his head high and he never would walk by someone without saying hello. He just loved school, he loved life and that's what's so neat about him," said Sullivan.

"I always enjoyed like, hanging out with him and like going to seven on sevens scrimmages in his car. Cause he would always make everyone laugh," Brendan Sullivan a ten-year-old friend of the family.

"Shane's memory will not pass quickly," said Constine. "He was in integral part of our community. He will be remembered and his contributions will be remembered by people for years."

"He's done so much in such a short time on earth. He's a Corunna football guy through and through. This home here is his home. And hopefully we can do something here to honor him, because this is where he wants to be," said Coach Sullivan.

A hometown soldier that is gone, but will not forgotten. The community is putting together a candlelight vigil for Cantu. While the plans are not firm yet it currently is set to take place at 8 p.m. Friday night at the football stadium where Cantu played.

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