Michel: Community mourns loss of hero firefighter Chauvin

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

As the first day of September dawned, I laid in bed until my sluggish thoughts identified the uneasiness I felt.

It only took a couple of seconds before I realized it was the morning of St. John Fire Department District Chief Spencer Chauvin’s funeral.

I didn’t have the privilege that many of the members of my community shared — I didn’t know Chauvin. I’ve only learned of his incredible young life, one that was tragically cut short, through widespread news reports and Facebook posts.

In the deadly crash that claimed Chauvin’s life, 21-year-old Jermaine Starr of Moss Point, Miss., was also killed, sending another community into mourning.

Chauvin had planned to leave for Disney World with his wife and two young children on Thursday, September 1. Instead, his family will remember that day as the one when they laid his body to rest.

Described by those who knew him as courageous, kind and loving, Chauvin spent his final moments of life doing what he always did — responding to a call for help at the scene of an accident.

Since his death on Aug. 28, every time I’ve passed the fire station near my home, several times each day, I think not only of him, but of the family, friends, firemen and the whole community who have united in mourning.

On Sept. 1, my granddaughter Adeline and her schoolmates wore red shirts to honor Chauvin’s life.

The outpouring of love, support and care from the community to the entire Chauvin family is a testament of who he was.

Although I never knew him, I will always remember him as a hero.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.