INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When Danville emergency crews arrived to save Chris Goins yesterday, it was already too late.
“I was here and the power went out and we heard there was an accident, but we never would’ve guessed what it was,” said Lori Clark, the Ladies Auxiliary president for American Legion Post 118 in Danville.
Goins, a self-employed contractor, had volunteered to clean out the gutters of a local church.
While in his electric lift vehicle, he came into contact with a high-voltage power line, which electrocuted him.
First responders couldn’t get to him until the power was cut. They pronounced him dead at the scene.
“Horrible, horrible, heaviness and sadness,” said Clark, recounting her initial response. “It was just very sad.”
Inside Post 118, a memorial to Chris sits as people share photos and memories of him.
“He was a small town hero that refused to wear a cape because he was so humble,” said Clark.
But as everyone remembered, he didn’t mind throwing on an Easter Bunny suit to bring smiles to local kids.
That, Clark says, was Goins’ spirit.
“I mean if you needed him to do something, he was there,” said Clark. “You could call him at 3:00 in the morning, stuck in a snow bank and he would take his big, noisy black truck and pull you right out.”
That noisy black truck could often be seen rolling around Danville, with the bed packed tight with food.
Chris donated anything he could to the Shared Blessings food pantry at the Danville United Methodist Church and packed backpacks of meals to make sure students didn’t go hungry over the weekend.
Clark believes it will take time before the reality of Chris’ death hits home.
It will take even longer for everyone to figure out how to begin to fill his shoes.
“I guess just day by day, you have to keep honoring his memory,” said Clark. “If I can be half of the person that Chris was, then I’m going to be thankful for that.”
Chris was the sole provider for his family.
As a testament to his’ impact on Danville, the GoFundMe for his family hit its $15,000 goal in less than 24 hours. At the time of publication, it was at nearly $19,000.
Danville’s population is around 9,000.