The CMAK Foundation is inspired by the life of Chase Kowalski and honors his memory through its works and activities to heal and strengthen children, families and communities. Join us to Triumph over Tragedy and make a positive impact in our world! We hope you enjoy our video.
Chase was our third gift from God and the perfect piece to complete our family puzzle. When Brittany and Erin met him the day after he was born, they said he was a keeper. He was a happy baby and never gave me a hard time. He always went with the flow. Brittany was in Sandy Hook Elementary School and Erin in preschool. Chase and I would have time in the morning alone that strengthened our bond. The girls would play with him as he grew.
Chase was a runner shortly after he started walking. I remember one day we were at CVS, he took off running down the aisles and we could hardly catch him. Being a boy I wasn’t concerned that he wasn’t talking much, at his year-and-a-half doctors visit, we could communicate with each other, we shared our own language, but the doctor was concerned. We monitored him as he got older and still the speech wasn’t there. We had Birth to Three come and evaluate him but he didn’t qualify. He was too smart with just a speech delay. That summer he was two-and-a-half and started his running career at the Bethel High summer track program. It was there that he competed in his first events: the 50 meter, the 100 meter, and the 400 meter. By three he was put into the preschool system and started to get speech therapy.
We chose to hold Chase back because of the speech delay, so he started the three year old program the year he would turn four. He loved pre-school. Chase made friends quickly and that just make his speech improve every day. He worked super hard at speech therapy and started to really make progress. The goal was to have him speaking well by the time he was in kindergarten. The more time Chase spent with his friends the better his speech became.
With each passing year we grew as an active family. Brittany was involved in girl scouts, and dance, Erin would eventually get into the Girl Scout program and ultimately Chase would join the Cub Scouts. I’m a firm believer in the scouting program and all of the positive influences they have on children.
Steve and I would watch Chase and we were always amazed at how good he was at anything he did. He had a personality that made you just wanted to hang out with him. You could tell he was an old soul, and he was on a mission to try and do anything and everything life had to offer. Our son would be active from the moment his eyes opened to the moment his head hit the pillow. There was no stopping Chase. He did everything you could imagine. It would be easier to list what he didn’t have the chance to get to do.
Chase loved to read, and write, he would go for little hikes in the yard and find feathers and tape them in a journal and write his letters on the pages trying to describe the items, We could find him on weekend afternoons flipping through TV channels and stopping on the history channel to listen to the narrator talk about a war. He was so excited to watch his grandfather go for a ride in a B-17 bomber and then watched a movie about that kind of plane. He had a fascination for the Titanic, and I was looking forward to bringing him to Mystic, Connecticut to see the exhibit about the Titanic.
We baked cookies and decorated them for Thanksgiving, and put together gingerbread houses for a Christmas family decorating contest. He had a big garden he planted with his grandmother. We actually had a watermelon and corn on the cob!
In Disney at the Lego place he built a race car with a friend and after a few times modifying it they won three races in a row. They only received one trophy. A Lego man and Chase gave it to his friend whose family was leaving. Lego rule was the car had to be dissembled and started over, and don’t you know he built another winning car, and got a trophy for himself! That was the thing about Chase; he always did a great job, took the high road and was thoughtful of others, but also would be determined to get what he wanted.
Athletically he was amazing. He had skills in everything he did. I would joke, “There is nothing this kid can’t do!” He loved all sports. His passion was running, biking and eventually swimming. Who would have ever thought a kid could be a tri-athlete, especially one whose parents had no interest in it at all?
Baseball was a different story, Steve and Chase shared that passion. They would go outside for hours and toss a ball. Chase loved when Steve taught him how to catch fly balls. They were so scary to catch but he wanted to get over that fear of the ball hitting him in the face.
Running the bases,Chase was so fast that they would do a lap around the field, and the kids that didn’t run as fast Chase would be clean up and do a second lap and if he caught up to you had to do another lap. At seven, I think the kids respected how lightning fast he was.
Mini golf, zip lining, amusement park and carnival rides, animals, quading, golf carting, go carting, making people laugh, being silly, crafting, singing, building crafts at the Home Depot, selling lemonade at the end of the driveway, horseback riding, playing on playgrounds, slot car racing, and lastly charity, and learning about giving back, were all part of Chase’s amazing personality. Ultimately as a family he was the greatest gift we were all blessed to have in our life.
This gift of an AMAZING little boy who we were given seven years to grow and love and share all of the great things he did in his short life. It is our greatest honor to be able to share him with you, to inspire you and your family, and any child that may be in your life to do great things and to Race4Chase and race 4 change in our world.