California Wildfires Vivid For Nick LaVanchy

BY JARIN MATHENY | Ball State Sports Link

California was besieged by wildfires all summer, torching more than four million acres of land, leaving thousands without homes and 31 dead.

For Ball State men’s volleyball’s Nick LaVanchy, the experience is very vivid. His father, Matthew, is there in the aftermath to help families rebuild.

“There was so much damage and destruction that I wouldn’t have even thought of,” LaVanchy said. “I don’t even know how to describe it, just pure destruction. It’s hard to wrap your brain around because everything around you is destroyed.”

Matthew LaVanchy has made a career of public service and providing organizational structure.

LaVanchy started in 1991 as a paramedic with The City of St. Louis EMS, moved to Webster Groves in 1992 and eventually to the Pattonville Fire Protection District in 1998.

With Pattonville, LaVanchy served in a number of ancillary roles and was eventually promoted to Assistant Chief.

Throughout his career, LaVanchy has been involved in many complex incident responses — from HazMat Incident Command, strike team commander for Hurricane Response, Division Chief for civil unrest events and Subject Matter Expert for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Since 2005, LaVanchy has deployed to numerous disasters in the United States. LaVanchy has worked on most of the major fire debris removal incidents in California.

Nick LaVanchy’s journey to Ball State was profiled by Ball State Sports Link in 2019.

LaVanchy played in all 18 matches and appeared in 64 sets in 2020. He finished second on the team with 116 digs and added 41 assists in a season cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak.