John Capers, a retired lieutenant EMT with the Daytona Beach Fire Department, died unexpectedly from sepsis in September 2016.
As the golden glow of the sunrise washed over the Granada Bridge on Sunday, Jan. 28, a group of about 20 locals banded together to honor John Capers, a retired Lieutenant EMT with the Daytona Beach Fire Department and former commissioner of Holly Hill. On Aug. 31, 2016, John Capers had a suggested colonoscopy in which doctors found and removed a hemorrhoid. He got an infection at the surgical site and died three days later from sepsis, which is the body’s toxic response to an infection.
Ormond Strong, a nonprofit that works to help and honor veterans and first responders, rallied around Christine Capers, John’s wife, for the second-annual John Capers Memorial Walk. She held a bouquet of flowers and donned a hat and polo depicting the logo of her husband’s business, Capers Muscle Cars of Daytona.
The unexpected death of her husband still haunts Christine Capers. But she said he would have wanted it to serve as a way to spread awareness for sepsis.
“This way people can understand and at least be prepared, so when you’re watching things go downhill, when things aren’t right, ask the questions,” Christine Capers said.
John Capers III said the family was left with many questions after John Capers’ death, but an autopsy helped provide answers.
“The greatest thing that came out of the autopsy was the medical examiner saying there’s no such thing as minor surgery,” Capers III said. “That was a lesson to be passed on.”
Debbie Kruck-Forrester, a commander with Ormond Strong, has been close friends with the Capers family for years.
“If you were a friend, you were family,” Kruck-Forrester said of John Capers’ relationships with people.
Christine Capers recalled a time when her husband received a call from a friend who was stuck in the Carolinas and needed his help. She said he got in his car and drove up without hesitation.
John and Christine Capers had been together since they were 15, and they both graduated from Seabreeze High School.
“He moved here from Pennsylvania and loved Volusia County, loved the small city of Holly Hill, worked in Daytona most of his career, he fished these rivers,” Capers III said about his father.
Christine Capers said she wants to hold the next memorial walk with Ormond Strong in September, for Sepsis Awareness Month. It was held this month because John Capers was born in January.
Christine Capers said she has two hopes for future memorial walks for John: “That he will be remembered, and that it will bring awareness to sepsis.”