This past Friday, Mason Calhoun. a young naval officer from Virginia Beach, died in a tragic motorcycle accident near the Coronado Bridge in San Diego.
The 24-year-old grew up in Virginia Beach, went to Norfolk State and most recently served as a lieutenant junior grade on the USS Decatur.
He had been stationed in San Diego for two years and was working towards fulfilling a life-long dream to be a Navy SEAL.
His mother says he was on his way to turn in paperwork as part of the SEAL application process that fateful Friday. He never made it.
Calhoun crashed around 9:30 a.m. just before the Coronado Bridge.
Although Calhoun’s life was cut way too short, those who new him best say he made the most of every day and every moment. Tears can quickly turn into smiles when Mason’s mom, Connie Doering, talks about him.
“He never met a stranger,” said Connie. “No matter where he went he would talk to you. He was funny he would always try to make you laugh.”
To his family, he was larger than life.
“He was indestructible, he was Mason, he was invincible,” his mom continued.
“I just couldn’t believe it, because there’s not anything Mason can’t stand up and walk away from,” said his sister, Kayla Calhoun.
Mason comes from a military family, spread out across the United States and the world.
His sister Kayla was inspired to create a GoFundMe page to help everyone who loved Mason, come to his memorial service in Virginia Beach. The fundraising goal was shattered within a few hours.
“It climbed so quickly and in the first day we’re double,” said Kayla. “It’s just amazing that some people that we don’t even know have anonymously donated $500 because they see the support of the community and how much of an impact he had on everyone.”
Some of his closest friends have chosen to honor him in a very permanent way, with memorial tattoos etched into their skin so they can always remember to “live like Mason.”
“He’s going to be missed, a lot,” said Kayla. “That makes me want to live more like him and make him proud, because I’ve never met someone with more of a passion for life.”
The family is waiting for Mason’s body to come home from San Diego before setting a date for the memorial.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Calhoun as a first lieutenant. He was a lieutenant junior grade, the Navy’s equivalent of a first lieutenant.