Daniel Sylvester Louis loved cars. He loved driving them even more. Tragically, the 25-year-old soldier met his death in a car accident on December 29 last year.
Friday, family, friends and members of the Barbados Defense Force (BDF) gathered at the St Matthias Anglican Church in Christ Church to bid farewell to a man who they all agreed had gone way too soon.
During the hour-long ceremony, as if in keeping with the discipline instilled by the BDF, the congregation remained composed as they reflected on Daniel’s short life.
During a tribute from the BDF, Daniel was remembered as one who loved cars, had a beautiful smile, loved his family and was dedicated to his job.
In delivering the tribute, Captain Maria Moore spoke of Daniel’s passion for driving.
“Daniel had a zeal for driving and would always seek to improve his skills. This passion led him to request a transfer from the special operations company to the motor transport platoon in 2016. The motor transport platoon gained a highly motivated driver who always displayed a willingness to complete any driving duty without complaint. Daniel had a good understanding of his job and would go the extra mile to ensure that any task was completed,” she said, adding that Daniel was in the process of obtaining his omnibus licence when he died.
“Over the last few months of 2016, Daniel was adamant that he would obtain an omnibus licence. He said ‘the guys in motor transport working too hard, I want to help out’. He even reminded them last Christmas morning that he wanted to do the test early in the New Year.”
Moore spoke of one of Daniel’s final overseas assignments, which further emphasized his dedication to his job.
“He was deployed to the Commonwealth of Dominica in 2015 as part of the regional security team after the passage of Tropical Storm Erica. He was quite enthusiastic about this and while there he carried out his duties with the quiet self-assurance. Comments on his reports would always speak to his high level of physical fitness, discipline and positive approach to duties,” she said.
She also remembered Daniel as “a person of strong heart who loved his family, especially his children. He worked hard to provide for them. Persons who had the privilege of knowing Daniel know he loved his family very much”.
In his address, the presiding minister Hugh Springer sought to comfort the family by reminding them that God was still with them during these difficult times.
“You will have many questions, some of which will never be answered. So as we face this devastating brokenness and pain, look to God, therein we will find hope and solace. For I know that my redeemer lives. Let us embrace these words and with that in mind we can face any tomorrow,” Springer said.
However, at the military gravesite where Daniel was laid to rest, the grief was too much for his family who wailed as the casket was being lowered into the ground.
The sound of the gun salute was too much for his mother, sister and two brothers, who all broke down after the first shot. They cried uncontrollably for nearly ten minutes as they mourned the man with whom they all had a special relationship.
His children, Katai And Alaysia, seemingly unaware of the tragic reality that their father was gone, were composed throughout the service and at the graveside.
However, as their father’s body was being lowered into the ground, they both became restless, as though they had been struck by the reality that they would never see him again.
Daniel, 25, of Silver Hill Drive, Christ Church, was on his way home to comfort his grieving mother Doreen Louis-Prescott, who has lost her brother 24 hours earlier, when his black Toyota Tercel collided with a white Nissan Pathfinder along the Graeme Hall section of the ABC Highway.