EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 26, 2012

Salem soldier remembered for sense of adventure, intelligence

Salem soldier remembered for his love of adventure


Mike Gorbecker, who had known Hogan since seventh grade, said he stood out from others even at a young age.

“You could definitely tell he was a special person” Gorbecker said. “He was the only kid I knew who had a disco ball and a waterbed in his room. For a middleschooler, it made him a rock star.”

Gorbecker and other friends spoke of Hogan’s endless energy and love for running, rock climbing, hiking and skiing. He captained his high school and college cross-country teams.

“When you were with Shawn, it was always easy to feel invincible,” Gorbecker said.

That could be good — and bad. Hogan’s passion for adventure often led his friends down some dangerous paths, especially while skiing.

Gorbecker told of how one time, his friend’s reckless behavior inadvertently sent them crashing down a slippery slope.

“We went barreling right into a snowboard lesson,” he said.

But Gorbecker became concerned when he saw Hogan tumble into the forest.

“I was worried about him until you could hear his goofy laughter 100 feet away in the woods,” he said.

Others who spoke included childhood friend Quy Pham and soldier Andrew Ammer. Pham spoke of Hogan’s “goofy, big smile,” and told of his friend’s idea to place a makeshift bike ramp against a trampoline.

After riding up the ramp, they were to complete a flip in midair and land on the trampoline, Pham said. Instead, they both landed in a heap.

“He was ever so hungry for a challenge,” Pham said. “He always pushed himself and everyone around him to do better. “

Ammer recalled Hogan’s sense of humor. He told of how the rambunctious soldiers, looking for some action, crashed a children’s skating party.

While the solemn service had some uplifting moments — drawing some laughter, there were few dry eyes in the church at the end as “Taps” were sounded and flags were presented to family members, including Hogan’s fiancee, Karree Ann Emmons.

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