Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rest In Peace, Army Staff Sargeant Chauncey Mays

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I've never met Army Staff Sargeant Chauncey Mays, but I'm here to tell ya, the boy has a lot, A LOT, of friends.  Let me explain.

Chuck and I were on I-30 today headed west towards Greenville.  We were about 30 miles from home when we started noticing people standing on the overpasses with flags.  Every overpass we went under, there were more and more people standing on the bridges looking down on I-30 like they were waiting on something.

We continued to proceed west a few more miles when we came upon approximately 20-25 highway patrol police cars, city police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, etc. all with their lights on, but sitting idle on the side of the highway going the opposite direction from us, again like they were waiting on something.

At this point, I called my girlfriend Becky and asked her if she knew what was going on.  That's when I heard the name Chauncey Mays for the first time.  See, Army Staff Sargeant Mays lived in the small town of Pickton near where we live.  While in Afghanistan defusing a bomb several weeks ago, he was killed when the bomb went off.  They were bringing his body home today.  He was 25 years old.

25 years old

Shortly after hanging up with Becky, we continued seeing people standing on the opposite side of the highway waving flags in front of farms, at gas stations or just in the grassy median.  We had now been seeing people with flags for about 25 miles when we topped the hill and saw an endless line of went on forever......and then an endless line of fire trucks and police cars.....I also noticed that no one was pulling over on our side of the freeway, but having been raised to ALWAYS pull over out of respect, I quickly pulled to the side of the highway as the semi's shook my car as they sped by......

Chuck and I were in awe over the amount of people that were honoring this young man....It was an amazing site and brought tears to both of our eyes as we sat, for what seemed like an hour, waiting on the procession to pass on the opposite side of the highway.  It made me think of my own nephew who will be graduating in just over a week from the Marine Officer Training School in Quantico, VA and how touched and honored he would be to see what we were seeing.  And I couldn't help but think that unimaginable thought; what if this had been him?

As the last car in the procession passed, I looked in my rearview mirror preparing to merge back on the highway and saw as far back as I could see, people had pulled over and paid their respects as well.  I felt honored to have been a tiny part of this man's friends and family paying respect to him today.


Thank you Chauncy Mays, who left behind a wife and two toddlers.


Liz Hurt said...

Liz, this is such a tribute to Chauncey Mays. Would it be alright if I sent it to all the Bible study group?

Jackie Devine said...

Liz: Thank you for sharing your moment


Israel said...

thanks Liz, I've been there, and those motorcycles were "The Patriot Guard Riders" to which I belong. We've been in many funerals and memorials burying our boys. By the way my son in law just got back from Afghanistan and I'm grateful to God for his return. My heart aches for that boy and his family. Blessings!!


Judy Boyles said...

That is awesome


Judy Boyles said...

thanks for your tribute...having a son in the army makes stories like this so meaningful. i pray for my sons safety every day and all those who choose to serve as well.
God Bless you Chauncey Mays!

Gina Oliver said...

I am proud to say that Chauncy Mays was a member of my family. We have been so amazed by the number of people who have shown their support since the moment we heard the news. Bless you for kind thoughts and words.

Di Ann said...

Well that starts the morning off with tears. That is so unbelievable, can you even imagine how his family felt. I thank you so much for being the one that pulled over and started the line behind you.

jan & Joe said...

We are so glad to get this. Our Julie works with his Step Mom, and I will forward this to her.

ant Ellie said...

That is sad. What in the world did O'Bama have to apologize for America when he traveled Europe? That is even sadder!
ant ellie

Orville said...

Liz, if you have not seen the movie "Taking Chance" rent it.. I promise you and Chuck will like it.. Have a box of tissues handy!

Margie Champlin said...

My Dear Liz,
I cried while reading this wonderful tribute........
You are the Most Amazing Person, we feel honored to know you

We are lucky to have young men like Chauncey serving our country!

God Bless his family.

Nonia said...

Liz, The page you did on Chauncey was beautiful. I sent to all my friends and it will be given to his family later.Hope you don't mind.Gotta go dress.Nonia Mc

Mike at Drivers Job Source said...

Thank you for such beautiful description and tribute. I was the last car in that procession. Every time I could move over a bit I never saw the front. The included my description of the days events starting with his arrival and the PGR participation on thier site at It was and will continue to be a privilege to be a part of the PGR in honoring our fallen heros.

Thanks again for sharing.


Mike said...

Liz I apologize for my comment coming through with the Drivers Job Source on it. Not intentional and that email for response won't work.

Nyla said...

On the way home from the hospital yesterday afternoon Sue, Judy and I were stopped in the road as the oncoming funeral procession was approaching and turning onto the road to the cemetery for Sgt. May's burial. We couldn't believe the length of the procession. We, too, had tears. We had passed miles of yellow ribbons tied to everything, and flags along the road. We were on highway 11 to Winnsboro. We were proud to be Americans, of course!!!!!

Thanks for your prayers and concern. You are a very special friend and loving lady - looking forward to our steak dinner when all is well! I'm doing o.k. and expect to be up and around within the week.

Love you. Nyla

Dori Overman said...

I'm proud to say that Chauncy was my nephew. That first picture on this post is one I took 2 days before he left for Afganistan. He will be missed! We were in awe of the show of support for him and our family!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Chauncy was my nephew. He was a hero and didn't even know it. again thank you. Patrick Mays

Unknown said...

I'm proud to be an American Legion Rider and Patriot Guard Rider, and although I'm not able to ride in the PGR as often as I'd like, when I am it is an emotional time. The families are always very humbled and grateful. God Bless America and God Bless all those who are serving. Especially thank you to all those veterans who have served our country maintaining the freedoms we all enjoy!

Anita from Kansas

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