A 20-year-old Turlock man serving in the U.S. Army died Wednesday in Iraq, according to the news release from the Department of Defense.
The deceased was identified as Spc. Avadon A. Chaves, 20.
The news release stated Chaves died 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’ death is under investigation, according to the Department of Defense.
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.
“He was proud to be in the Army and we were all so proud to have a family member defending our country,” Marquez said. “For being a young man, he always made sure he was neat and in his room he had military posters and a huge American flag hanging on his walls.”
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.
Chaves was the youngest of five children in his family and the only boy and as such, felt a responsibility to be “the man of the house” to help his single mother, Marcella Chaves, said Marquez.
“He was the man of the house and took on all the roles. He would mow the lawn, take out the trash and little tasks like that but he was also the one who would always be making us laugh,” Marquez said. “He was a family man who was close to his mom.”
Laughter was a trait well-associated with her brother, said Marquez, whether it was through some needling of her sisters or inside jokes he shared with his friends.
“He was shy when you first met him, but once you became more acquainted with him, he would have you laughing,” Marquez said.
Prior to going overseas, Chaves had been stationed in Texas, which was where he met his wife Tesa. The two were wed June 23, 2017.
Services are pending for Chaves, though they likely will be in Modesto, according to his family. Locally, he is survived by his mother Marcella Chaves and sisters Amaris Marquez, Vivian Marquez, Emerald Chaves and Scarlet Chaves.
“Thanks to everyone who has been sending their prayers and condolences, we need them more than ever,” Marquez said.