Family honors memory of Chesterfield Fire recruit who died after physical training

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - The family of a Chesterfield fire recruit who lost his life following an on-the-job training incident is speaking out. Tyvaughn Eldridge’s family said he was healthy, so they’re not sure how this happened.

Eldridge’s family says he had to be rushed to the hospital Thursday. Saturday morning, the firefighter recruit passed away on his 26th birthday.

“He was attentive to us by squeezing our hand, showing eye motions but within 24 hours, it changed,” his godmother, Sonya Washington, said.

Hugs of comfort and prayer are what’s helping a grieving family make sense of the unthinkable.

“With his determination, he had it and he finally became a fireman,” his father, Thomas Eldridge, said. He said that it was his son’s dream since he was a child. “We had a conversation about his career path and what he wanted to do, and he told me that he wanted to be a police officer or a fireman at that time believe it or not…That’s when he told me he wanted to make a difference. He wanted to be that positive difference that we need in our communities.”

After graduating from Henrico High and Old Dominion, Eldridge eventually got on with Chesterfield Fire and EMS. He was doing a physical training last Thursday when he suffered a medical emergency.

“He went out doing what he wanted to do,” Washington added.

When his father went to pick up his son’s car from the training location, he noticed something.

“His radio station was on a gospel station and that just kind of speaks to his character, that he never lost sight of God being the head of his life,” he said.

That’s what helps lessen the load of coming to terms with losing someone who meant so much.

“Tyvaughn just had so much life, so much to give, and we will never let that go in vain, at all…We can’t question why God called him, but I know now he’s truly going to be our angel, but we miss him like crazy,” Washington said.

The fire department says it too is mourning this loss. Leaders called Eldridge an amazing young man who made the commitment to serve his community. The county is not saying what exact training was happening when this occurred. His family says he had no major health conditions.

A private memorial service is being held on July 10. In lieu of flowers, that family asks that donations be made to Henrico Police Athletic League.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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