Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff
Hundreds of people lined the route from a Newburyport funeral home to an Amesbury church today, despite the pouring, cold rain, to pay their last respects to a soldier from the area who died last week in Iraq.
Specialist Jordan Shay
In the funeral service, which filled the church to capacity, Sergeant Jordan M. Shay was remembered as "a true and steady friend to all who crossed his path" by his mother, Holly.
"I am heartbroken Jordan is no longer on this earth," she said. "He was and is everything to this family."
She recalled him as a young man who loved to write and whose teenage angst seemed to lift when he met his fiancée, Kelsey Chandonnet, who encouraged him to reach his potential.
"It was like the sun came out," she said.
The funeral procession was led by two dozen motorycyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders and the Rolling Thunder motorcycle groups. Dignitaries attending the funeral included Governor Deval Patrick and US Senator John F. Kerry. Patrick was on crutches and Kerry used a cane; both recently had surgeries.
Shay, 22, was an active-duty soldier with Company A, Fifth Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment from Fort Lewis, Wash. He was promoted posthumously from specialist to sergeant. Shay and another soldier were killed in a vehicle rollover in Baqubah on Sept. 3.
Shay was a graduate of Amesbury High School's class of 2005. His family now lives in Newburyport.
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