Project Wonderful

Friday, December 27, 2013

RIP Jason Chambers

"The idea of eating horse doesn't really bother me. They would do it to you. Horses are assholes."

How could I not want to help honor the author of this quote? Within minutes of reading about Jason Chambers, a 27 year-old OFA Virginia alum who died of cancer this month, I was crying at my desk at work. He sounds so much like someone I would have been friends with. I keep imagining him having the experiences that every organizer has; getting told that making phone calls doesn’t make a difference and doing it anyway, staying up until the middle of the night making walk packets,never imagining that that would be his last job. So many of us justify giving up our 20’s to campaigns with the knowledge that when we are older with steady paychecks and families we will get to look back on a youth without regrets. Jason never got that opportunity.

Below is a tribute to Jason written by one of his friends from the Obama campaign, Justin Spees. Please help honor his memory by taking a moment to read it and contributing to his funeral expenses if you can.

On the night of Thursday, December 19th, Jason Chambers passed away after a months’ long struggle with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and very lethal type of bone cancer. He was 27 years old, and like so many readers of this blog, a 2012 OFA field organizer.

Jason started as an intern for OFA in January 2012 in his hometown of Danville, Virginia. He was hired that summer to take over a large, rural part of southern Virginia called Pittsylvania County. He was quiet, and naturally acclimated to the hard work of a campaign. He was also ferociously intelligent and jaw-droppingly funny. He was the kind of guy who would offer you his coat and then tell you he was only doing it to get you to stop complaining about the cold—-someone who was so humble about his decency that he’d pretend it was something else. If you ask anybody who met him, even if it was just once, they’d tell you a story about how selfless he was, and how kind. They’d also tell you about how he’d mask that kindness with an acid sense of humor you envied as you were laughing your ass off.

Two quotes, that give a sense of what he was like:

1.“You know what a Mitt Romney Presidency would be like? ‘Hi, I’m Mitt Romney, welcome to the first day of the Republican congress. We’re going to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs….No just kidding, more anti-abortion stuff.’” [followed by a half hour of the rest of us laughing]

2.[After our intern Laura telling us that the first word she ever spoke was “duck.”]
Jason: “God damnit.”
Laura: “What?!”
Jason: “That’s fucking adorable.”

Jason and I worked side by side in the Danville field office. I’ve lost count of the amount of times he had my back, or the amount of times he talked me down when I thought I was going to lose my mind. He and I singlehandedly kept half the bars in town open that year, just talking about sports, or girls, or the job we recognized even then was changing our lives.

Being a campaign person is a lot like being in a fraternity. Losing Jason feels like losing a member of the family. Most of us who do it for a living know what it’s like to have your life changed in a badly air-conditioned field office with a scrappy group of overfed, underfucked kindred spirits. Jason was one of the best of us. His story deserves to be told.

Jason’s family is currently raising money to help with funeral expenses. If you’d like to make a donation to help them, you can do so at

My deepest sympathies to his friends and family.


1 comment:

  1. Jason Chambers Celebration of Life will be held Sunday Feb. 9, 2014 at Woodbury Hills Baptist Church at 817 Audubon Drive Danville, VA in the Fellowship Hall. Please join us to honor Jason.