The Santa Barbara Navy League and Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting a tabling fundraiser tonight at the State Street Farmers Market to honor fallen Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Louis J. Langlais.
The event will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and aims to raise proceeds to support the local hero’s wife and two young sons. Langlais attended Santa Barbara Middle School and Santa Barbara High School before joining the navy as a diver in 1986.
Langlais was one of 23 U.S. Navy SEALS and seven other U.S. service members killed in the Chinook helicopter crash on Aug. 6 in the Wardak province of Afghanistan. The crash marked the worst one-day casualty record in Afghanistan since 2005.
According to Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman, the fundraiser pays homage to Langlais’ 25 years of military service.
“When you read his story you realize he’s a hero, period,” Bushman said. “He was very aware of what he was doing, fighting for the United States; he was very aware of the risks he was taking and he was aware of the danger to his family and he still did his job. We need to recognize this man and needed to recognize what the SEALS do for us while we’re sitting here safely in our homes and offices.”
Langlais served as a member of the Navy’s Leap Frogs parachute unit and on SEAL Team Three during the Gulf War. Additionally, Langlais became a troop leader in SEAL Team Six — the elite unit accredited for conducting the raid leading to Osama Bin Laden’s death — while serving tours in Iran and Afghanistan.
Cushman said Langlais’ dedication to his family inspired the organizations to collaborate for the benefit.
“When I read the letter he left for his two young boys and wife I realized we just needed to recognize this,” Bushman said. “It’s not a big thing — but it’s something.”
People can also donate $10 by texting the word SEAL to 90999 or visiting navysealfoundation.org.