Franklin community remembers Michael Chadbourne

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – For the second time in a week, the Franklin community came together to remember the life of a teenage student.

On Wednesday, a memorial service was held for Jason Moran. On Friday, friends and family said farewell to Michael Chadbourne.

The teens died after jumping in the Big Blue River on June 6 to try to save 16-year-old Sarah McLevish, who fell over the dam. She remains in the hospital in critical condition. Two other boys who were also swimming with the teens survived the incident.

Now, it’s hard to find a post or tree without a blue ribbon in Franklin. The community is embracing the five families involved in this tragedy and Friday at Chadbourne’s memorial it was no different.

“We’ve been talking a lot about him this week and one of the words we keep coming back to is ‘selfless,’” Tony Napolitano, Chadbourne’s uncle, said.

It’s a trait Chadbourne displayed even in his brave, last moments.

“Jumping in and risking your life for a friend, but in everything that he did, whether that was putting the focus away from him and on his teammates, or taking time to play with his younger siblings or cousins. That’s just the type of person he was,” Napolitano said.

As Chadbourne’s uncle reflects on the memories, the students’ death is also resonating with other Franklin families.

“That very well could have been one of my kids,” Jim Harmon said.

Harmon is organizing a benefit for the five families involved, his son was friends with both boys who died.

“He’s requested to have some time at the dam by himself to float a ribbon down the stream. It’s emotional for him,” Harmon said.

In the end, Chadbourne’s family hopes his love for life, football, and those around him will live on.

“I’m just thankful we could all come together and remember him together,” Napolitano said.

Micky, as Chadbourne’s friends called him, is truly living on through organ donation. Eight organs, the maximum amount, were saved before he was taken off life support this week.

The benefit Harmon is organizing is set for June 22. It begins with a motorcycle ride. Bikers should check in at Franklin Community High School at 9 a.m.

Tickets are $25 and additional riders are $10. Later that day, the benefit will continue at Time Out Bar & Grill at 1000 Hurricane Street. All proceeds go to the Moran, Chadbourne, and McLevish families.

(WISH Photo)
(Franklin Strong T-Shirts/WISH Photo)

There are also T-shirts for sale at Franklin Community High School. They are $10 each and available in the office.

To donate to Chadbourne’s GoFundMe, click here.

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