A mother wearing her son’s final Mother’s Day present to her. A young widow recalling her husband’s penchant for hot Cheetos and punctuating his requests for them with a message of love. Four sisters remembering a brother who could both drive them crazy and make them smile one moment after the next. A final salute from a veteran.
The family of Spc. Avadon A. Chaves gathered with community members under a somber gray sky Tuesday morning at Lakewood Memorial to pay their respects and say a final goodbye to the young Turlock man who died while serving in Iraq.
Chaves, 20, died on Dec. 20 at Al Asad, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. Chaves was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Chaves’ interest in the military began when he was in the eighth grade and an Army recruiter visited his school. He took the jump from interest to recruit in his senior year at Pitman High School in 2015 and left for basic training after graduation, said his sister Amaris Marquez.
Prior to going overseas, Chaves had been stationed in Texas, which is where he met his wife Tesa. The two were wed June 23, 2017.
“He wasn’t looking forward to being deployed, but he realized he had a duty to do,” his wife said Tuesday morning. “He said this was what he signed up for.”
Chaves’ Christian faith also was an important part of his life and one that he integrated into his military life.
“He loved God and when he went overseas he made sure to take his pocket Bible,” Marquez said.