Beyond The Uniform

Business gifts shadow boxes to families of fallen

For the last 22 years, Ken Miles has been mounting medals for military veterans, past and present. What started out as a hobby, quickly turned into a full-blown business for him and his wife, Sgt. Susan Miles.

Miles recently added shadow boxes to his list of services. It started when a friend of Miles’ passed away in Pembroke, Ont., he made one in his friend’s memory. Suddenly, everyone wanted a shadow box. As a way to give back to the community, Miles decided to give one away every year.

“I’ll never be able to capture all who have been killed in Afghanistan and various missions throughout the world, but I just thought if each year I can make somebody happy, I’ll make one shadow box, and I’ll donate it to a family,” he said.


The shadow box that was presented to the family of Corporal Mike Abel, a young Airborne soldier who was killed in Somalia on 03 May 1993. The box is was presented to Mike’s mother and sister by Warrant Officer (ret’d) Derrick Nearing, a medic who served in Somalia with the Airborne.


Last year, Miles was approached by retired Warrant Officer Mike Boudrias, to craft a shadow box for Carol Mitchell. Mitchell lost her son, Corporal Robert T.J. Mitchell, on October 3, 2006 while he was serving in Afghanistan. Bordrias wanted to find a way to commemorate Cpl. Mitchell.

This year Miles gifted a shadow box to Silver Cross Mother Diana Abel. Abel’s son, Cpl. Michael Abel, lost his life in Somalia on May 3, 1993, while serving on a Peacekeeping mission. 

Miles told her there would be days she will look at it and be happy and others she would be sad. Miles wants to bring memories back to life. 

“We don’t want to forget our loved ones,” said Miles. “Our hope is to put a smile on someone’s face, that’s it.”

If you are interested in learning more about Miles’ work visit his website.

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Miranda Brumwell

Miranda attended Niagara College in 2014, completing the two-year Journalism program. She currently resides in London, ON with her boyfriend and baby boy. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, cooking, photography, watercolour painting and spending time with family and friends.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine