March 06, 2013
Shawn Debenport was a devoted rugby player for his competitive club; at the same time, he was doing his stint with the New Orleans U.S. Coast Guard although he was suffering from a having blood disorder that could have been fatal.
According to his family and the police, on this particular Tuesday afternoon, the 22-year-old seaman was riding his motorcycle to report for duty. When he reached Interstate 10 High Rise, he tried to go around an 18-wheeler but miscalculated the distance and hit one rear tire of the truck. The impact caused the 18-wheeler to roll atop Debenport and his motorcycle but was not able to stop. Debenport was mangled and died on the scene as a result of the wreck. It caused so much grief for his family, his friends and colleagues in the Coast Guard and his rugby club.
Shannon Debenport, who is Shawn’s 27-year-old brother, said that it seemed so unfair that all of the sudden Shawn was gone. There was so much he wanted to do with his life which has not even been started. He wanted to be an excellent rugby player to bring honor to his club; he wanted to serve the Coast guard to bring safety in the high seas.
New Orleans Capt. Jon Gage, commander of Coast Guard Base added that it was difficult for the Coast Guard to lose a member of the family. They are all mourning his passing and offer their condolence and sympathy of Shawn’s family and friends.
At the interim, investigators are following clues to identify the 18wheeler and its operator as the driver will be charged for a hit-and-run.
Shawn Debenport was a well-loved member of the community. He was attending the Elementary School of Christ the King and graduated from the De La Salle High School where he was an all-round athlete. He wrestled, played football and rugby. For 12 years, he swam for the Country club of Terrytown and worked as a lifeguard. This work encouraged him to work with the Coast Guard in 2009. His dream was to become a rescue swimmer for the agency.
Shannon said that his brother was always ready to help others during their most difficult situations; thus he joined the Coast Guard knowing that guarding the safety of the people at sea is a great challenge.
Debenport joined the Coast Guard and was assigned as a crew of the Alex Haley, a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter stationed in Kodiak, Alaska. He became a valuable member of the team but his career was put to a test when he developed TTP in 2012 which are considered a rare type of blood disorder.
This rare type of blood disorder causes clots to form in small blood vessels all over the body that gives the sufferer dangerously low platelet count. According to Alaska’s Blood Bank, for Debenport to survive, he has to undergo several plasma transfusions. During the months of May and June, he had 100 blood donors in Alaska.
To prevent a relapse, the Coast Guard moved him to New Orleans where he was a member of the support group managing the NASA barracks at the Michoud Assembly
All the information came from Coast Guard spokesperson, Petty officer 3rd class Ryan Tippets of the facility in eastern New Orleans.
His brother recalled that it is very difficult to become a rescue swimmer but Shawn was trying his best to qualify so someday he could be a member of the law enforcement of the Coast Guard hoped to eventually participate in the Coast Guard’s law enforcement operations.
Last January, Debenport was well-enough to join the Rugby Football Club. Team Coach Trip McCormick reminiscence that the seaman a fixture on the club’s second team, and he was on his way to make it to the first team with his physique. He was 6 feet, 4 inches and weighed 250 pound, a veritable frame to dominate an opponent.
McCormick recalled that Debenport was hardworking and tough but was easy to coach as he was always willing to improve as a player. The team had high hopes in him
Debenport’s mother was in shock and for more than 24 hours she could not accept what happened to her son in that deadly wreck, Karrie Debenport said that Shawn was a great son who loved well and was lovable.
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Source: Nola Com