Veterans travel to Indiana to honor Officer Noah Shahnawaz

Veterans travel to Indiana to honor Officer Noah Shahnawaz

FISHER, Ind. — A visitation was held Friday for fallen Ellwood officer Noah Shahnawaz. The 24-year Army veteran and Fisher resident was killed in the line of duty last Sunday.

For five hours, people from across the country came to ITOWN Church in Fishers to pay their respects, including law enforcement officers from as far away as New York and Texas, as well as Shahnawaz’s comrades in arms.

A group of soldiers who served together in the 591st Military Police Company said they keep in touch often. It was the first time in a while that they were brought back together, and it was under circumstances they could never have imagined.

“Anyone will tell you he was worth it. I came from Texas, but I would have come from Mars if I had to,” said Gary Harris, who served with Shahnavaz.

Shahnawaz’s brothers and sisters-in-arms, some of his closest friends, flew in from places like New York, Texas and Hawaii, and said that doesn’t even represent a tiny fraction of the people he’s influenced and still serve across the country. or for those unable to travel to Indiana.

Julio Hernandez said he would give anything to be around one of his closest friends, who he also considers part of his family. He shared his favorite memories with FOX59 via video chat from overseas, where he is currently based.

“Just talking to him for hours, being with him for hours, and the memories are hard to fathom now, to think that he’s gone,” Hernandez said. “Now I have to go through the steps to understand that this is real and a grieving process.”

Shahnawaz’s fellow soldiers said the fallen hero dreamed of becoming an officer. It was a dream he fulfilled until he took his last breath.

“This wasn’t just a job for him, it was fun. He loved going to work,” said Nicholas Tracy, who also served with Shahnawaz. “I never heard him complain about having to work. It was so important to him and just a big part of his life. I think he probably talked about it absolutely every day.

“It’s affected a lot of people and I think it’s especially because of his ambition and his age; how young he was. He had just left the army. I think it’s a painful story,” Tracy said.

Shahnavaz served with the Ellwood Police Department for 11 months, but his career in law enforcement began long before he served as a military police officer.

Tracy shared that the two often backed each other up during traffic stops and other calls while they were military police officers. Those memories of “Shanny” will be cherished by him and his brothers forever.

“In the military, they always say look left or right to see someone doing the right thing when you don’t know what to do,” Harris said. “He was always the guy that I always looked up to, as you know, he guided me in my military career.”

Mark Thompson said Shahnawaz was one of his driving forces in his quest to become a sergeant.

“He always said he’d do it first, he’d be the first. He pushed me hard,” Thompson said.

The group shared laughs and tears as they reminisced about their brother, who could light up any room he walked into. They also hope people know who he was, even beyond the uniform he wore.

“It’s so much more than just his job. He was a caring person, he took care of us, he checked in on us, he just spent a lot of quality time with us,” Tracy said. “He just really cared and he’s more than — he was more than just a policeman. He was a brother, friend and family member.

“If we texted him or had a problem, he was always there,” Thompson said.

“He was always reliable. He was always there when you needed him. He was so sweet,” Hernandez said. “I love being with my family and having him in my family was always fun.”

Hernandez said Shahnawaz was incredible to his son, who was very young when he first met him. When he arrived, Hernandez and his wife said Shahnawaz would watch Disney movies with their son, go to the park or help out with whatever they needed.

“My son adored him. He couldn’t say Shahnawaz and Shania was silly to him. I asked him what his name was and he said, ‘It’s Noah.’ The only person I can remember calling him Noah, at least in my house, was my son,” Hernandez recalled.

Shahnawaz was remembered by his friends as a keen player who could bring together communities of strangers, a kind, caring and loving person with a heart of gold. They also said that the best thing about him was definitely his infectious laugh or giggle as others described it.

“I’m not going to be able to hear it in person anymore, and it hurts,” said Hernandez, who plans to visit his fallen brother in Indiana when he returns home.

“The way he jumps up and down when he’s excited about something, definitely his laugh and his smile,” Thompson said, describing his favorite features of “Shanny.”

No one seems to disagree.

“You recognize it from a mile away. I think it was easily one of the funniest laughs because it’s one of those laughs that just makes you laugh even if you don’t understand what you’re laughing at,” Harris said. You just know right away that it has to be fun. It’s instantly contagious. “

His brothers in arms thanked everyone who has come to show their support for Shahnawaz and his family and said they hope to see a packed march route tomorrow to pay tribute to a man who gave his life for his community.

“To his family, I send them my deepest condolences,” Hernandez said. “As much as we feel he was our family to some extent; they were the real family and i know they are hurting more than anything.

Funeral and procession information

The funeral for fallen Ellwood officer Noah Shahnawaz will be held Saturday at ITOWN Church in Fishers. The funeral will begin at 11:00 a.m. and the police will begin arriving at 8:30 a.m. Employees from across the state and country are expected to attend the funeral.

Indiana State Police announced the procession route that will take Shahnavaz from ITOWN Church to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

You can find out more about the route and important information by visiting this link.

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