Photo courtesy of Ike Evans
Sgt. Ike Evans, an Idaho Army National Guardsman currently deployed in Iraq, is anxious to return home to wife Kaya and their children, Aubrey and Parker.
We all have different ways to take breaks from the rigors of our everyday lives.
Ike Evans, for example, likes to draw. He recently submitted an editorial cartoon which ran in the Morning News on June 28.
In the cartoon two soldiers were sitting together and talking about the somber mood in America regarding Iraq.
Evans, a 1998 graduate of Shelley High School, is in Iraq on his second deployment with the Idaho Army National Guard.
"This cartoon is an attempt to pick up on an uncharacteristically somber attitude in America," Evans wrote in a recent email. "This war has been a long hard-fought struggle which seemed like a lost cause not too long ago. And yet here are are today with victory on the horizon. Casualties are down, the Iraqi government is functioning with a growing economy, and Iraq may well end up being an ally to the U.S. in the war on terror. Isn't anybody happy about it? Well, no, actually not really."
Evans has been drawing since seventh grade when he was attending Snake River Junior High. And he has been published in the Morning News before.
"I liked drawing cartoons just like I do today and my work was noticed by one of teachers (Mrs. Bigler, if I remember her name correctly)," Evans recalled. "She lived in town and got me to draw up a weekly strip. She then convinced you folks to print my strip every week on Monday on the student page or something like that. Oh, that was great!"
Wouldn't it be great if he went on to be a successful cartoonist because of that encouragement?
Well, he didn't.
Drawing remains a hobby. After graduating from high school and serving an LDS Church mission in North Dakota, he began work on a bachelor's degree at Idaho State University.
This is Evans' second deployment to Iraq. In 2004 and 2005 he and a small group of about 30 soldiers spent a year in As Sulaymaniyah Province.
"This was the heart of Kurdistan, where the people treated us like rock stars everywhere we went," he recalled. "I worked as a drill instructor of sorts to build the 1st Kurdish Brigade and that proved to be a job that was both difficult and unbelievably fun."
His experience and that of his team members was unique. Other members of the Idaho National Guard experienced a brutal war that took a terrible toll on everyone involved.
This deployment "has proved to be a completely different animal," he said. "Life in Iraq is about as quiet and boring as you can get."
He and his comrades are working hard to finish their tour of duty strong.
The second deployment came as a bit of a surprise to Evans and his wife.
"While finishing my last semester, my family and I were hit with the sudden news that I was going to deploy with the 116th Brigade, something we originally thought wasn't going to happen," he wrote. "With a lot of big effort from some very understanding professors at Idaho State, I was allowed to finish my classes overseas and graduate with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. When I get home my main focus will be simply to look for a job."
Before he deployed he was working as a meteorologist in Headquarters Battery of the 1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery.
He is the son of Rick and Janet Evans of Shelley. His wife is Kaya. They have Aubrey (age 7) and Parker (age 4).