Chase Christopher Swonke
Organ Donor
Age 23 - Houston, TX
Date of Donation: 07/28/2007
Memorial Hermann Hospital; Houston, 

Chase Christopher Swonke was born September 19, 1983 and was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith.   Chase grew up loving the outdoors, and enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing.  He loved to view the stars at night, watch the lightning, and listen to the thunder.  Many summers were spent visiting national parks with his family, and fishing with his Opa, grandfather, on Lake Somerville.  Chase was a strong, strapping young man and could hoist up and skin hogs and deer.  He truly had a zest for life and brought challenges and smiles to many. He had a unique sense of humor. 

Chase became an Eagle Scout in a double Eagle Ceremony with his older brother, Shaun.  Both boys also marched with their high school band in the 1999 Rose Parade.

Playing defense with the Cy-Fair Ironman Lacrosse Team for 6 years was something Chase greatly enjoyed.  On 12/8/01 at the age of 18, during a rainy tournament game, Chase’s neck was broken and he became an incomplete C5-C6 quadriplegic.  He was paralyzed below mid chest.  Life changed.  Chase always said, “You play the hand you’re dealt.”  He regained feeling, arm movement and wrist articulation, but not hand or finger function.  Chase fought hard.  A paraplegic at the hospital said about Chase, “If that boy with a halo and screws in his head can roll into therapy with a grin on his face, I can at least try.”

After several months of hospitalization and rehabilitation, Chase went home.  In his wheelchair, Chase finished his senior year of high school and was given a standing ovation at graduation.  He was voted Mr. Cy-Fair.Chase became friends in ’01 with a paraplegic who came to the hospital to visit him after watching Chase’s story on the TV news.  Later, this man named his own son, Chase Hunter. 

Chase attended college at UH-Downtown.  With modifications and help from his Dad and brother, he attended many disabled hunting trips and shot a pronghorn, a mule deer buck, a white tail buck, two white tail does, a turkey, doves, and teal.   He taught himself to shoot accurately without functioning fingers.  Chase completed the monthly run records for Station 9 with the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Dept. where he was a member.

At the age of 23, on July 28, 2007, Chase was killed in a car accident.  Chase’s corneas, skin, and long bones went to help others.  His spinal cord went to a Neurologist in Houston for study.  This Dr. was called into an ER in Dallas long ago when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 

A Fireman Honor Guard was at the funeral home and fireman lined the interior walls of the church sanctuary.  Chase’s ashes were carried on Ladder 9 by his brother, a certified fireman, and accompanied by his grandfather, an ex-Fire Chief of Giddings, Texas.   Many fire trucks from the region were in a processional to Fire Station 9 for “last call” and a reception.  On the outside of Fire Station 9, in the space that Chase always parked, is now a sign saying “Chase Swonke Member of the Month Parking.”
Chase encouraged others not to give up.  After his death, many people commented on how Chase had helped them and how he had affected their lives.  Chairbound Hunters in Wyoming has a “Chase Swonke Memorial Prairie Dog Shoot” for disabled hunters since 2008.

On January 18, 2013, Chase’s brother Shaun and his wife Megan had a beautiful baby girl.  Her name…….Addison Chase Swonke. 
Isaiah 40:30-31  


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