A Bakersfield High School graduate and Army veteran who traveled the world serving our country was hit and killed by a car in the Central Valley.
25-year-old James Chvala was killed Wednesday in Madera. Family and friends say Chvala was a loving son, an outstanding friend, and a determined athlete.
Chvala worked construction in Madera during the week. On weekends, he came home to Bakersfield. His father, James Chvala, is a long-time freshman football coach at Bakersfield High School.
"Tuesday I woke up with him at 5:30 in the morning. We drank coffee together. He was headed to Madera. He would be home Friday to watch the football game. He wished us luck at the game," said James Chvala.
The next day, Chvala was hit and killed by a driver in Madera. The California Highway Patrol says Chvala was digging a trench to put a fiber optic line underground, when he walked in front of a car.
"I'm fighting tears every chance I have. I think of him and the joyous moments, which helps out. I go down to Bakersfield High, which really helps me out," said Chvala.
Chvala was the youngest of four children, and a standout athlete at Bakersfield High School. He was part of the football and track teams before he graduated in 2006.
"I had a hard time sleeping. Just going through seeing his face, remembering conversations that we had, the times we laughed together," said Jason Oliver, former Bakersfield High School football coach.
"He was one of our better defensive backs so we'd always say to each other DB's! DB's!" continued Oliver.
Chvala's former football coach says Chvala was always willing to lend a hand, on and off the field.
"He believed the stronger people were here to protect weaker people. He felt he was one of the stronger people," noted Chvala's father.
Chvala joined the Army in 2008. He spent a month in Iraq and another three months helping in Haiti after a massive earthquake in 2010.
"Jimmy was planning for the future. We all plan for the future, but we're just here for a moment," explained Chvala's father. "When that moment's gone, it's gone. What really is important is the values and how people think of you, your integrity, and Jimmy's going to have that with him."
A rosary for James Chvala will be held Monday, November 12th at St. Francis Church at 7 p.m. A funeral will be held Tuesday, November 13th at St. Francis at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery on River Blvd.