Family Stopped to Help Others, Wound Up Needing Help Themselves

They were trying to do the right thing by victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida — who knew such a tragedy would result?

There are many stories coming out now that the devastation of Hurricane Irma is finally being realized, but one story I have heard stands out as one that really hits like a punch to the gut. People all over Florida (where I have lived most of my life) have really stepped up to help each other out and make each other’s lives easier during the power outages, water shortages, and movement of millions in and out of the state.

The children were in the car when it was struck … “The future is uncertain.”

An active-duty Navy recruiter in Port St. Lucie, Florida, heeded the warnings of the Emergency Management notices and decided to evacuate the state along with millions of others. Navy Recruiter Cory Chauvot, his wife Jenni, and their children Jackson (two months old), John (four), and Ava (two) were all packed up and traveling north. They left Port St. Lucie on Friday night and into early Saturday morning.

While driving north, as with most military members and families, Cory and Jenni saw an accident and stopped to see if they could help those involved. While standing in front of their own car, their car was struck from behind by another vehicle. This caused their own car to hit them extremely hard, throwing Cory out onto the highway; Jenni was pinned between her car and the guardrail. The children were all in their car when it was hit.

Cory suffered severe injuries, one of which was a severed aorta. He has since had surgery to fix that and several other serious injuries. He is awake and able to move enough to go to his wife’s bedside in the hospital to see her. Jenni had serious leg injuries — ones that will require years of recovery and rehabilitation. Her shoulders were broken, and she has since had several surgeries to repair those and her devastated legs and knees.

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But maybe the most seriously injured was their two-month-old baby, Jackson. Even though he was in a car seat, Jackson is on life support, and the future is uncertain at this point. The other two children are doing well, since they were wearing seatbelts.

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As with any major life-altering event like this, there will be many obstacles to overcome. Recovery will be long, difficult, and costly. While medical insurance for active-duty military is very good and covers almost everything medically, little things that will need to be paid for will not be.

Child care, some medical supplies, and simple everyday costs can be daunting during a recovery from something this serious. I know — my wife suffered a serious medical issue two years ago, and without help from friends and a GoFundMe page, I would have had to take out a loan to pay for all of the bills not covered by insurance. But because of the generosity of my friends and even complete strangers, I was able to concentrate on helping my wife and son, and not work overtime to pay bills.

Related: Hurricane Irma: What No One Tells You in a Disaster

So I am asking that all of you reading this to please think of one simple thing: “What if this was my family?” All I want is for you to consider giving to help the family out. Any help is wonderful, no matter how small or large. Even just sharing this story with others helps, as it may reach someone who can further assist.

And last but definitely not least, if you are inclined to do so, please pray for this family and their recovery. Please pray for Jackson and his recovery. This man serves our country in the United States Navy, and his family deserves not only our respect but help in this time of need. They stopped to help others and ended up needing help themselves.

Related: Faith-Based Groups Step Up Big-Time for Hurricane Victims

Let’s show them what real Americans can do when we put our minds to it. Thank you for taking the time to read and share this.

The GoFundMe page can be located at: Chauvot Family Fund.

Chris Wagoner is a U.S. Army veteran and senior OpsLens contributor. He has been in law enforcement the past 35-plus years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction and is in charge of a large police academy in North Florida. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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