A poignant and heartfelt letter, written by Commissioner Grant Stevens of the South Australia Police, pays tribute to his late son in a deeply personal manner.
The Commissioner shared the letter, unveiling the identity of “101” – the 101st life lost on South Australia’s roads this year – who happens to be his youngest son, Charlie.
Sitting amidst the seemingly ordinary chaos of a teenager’s room, Commissioner Stevens painted a vivid picture of Charlie’s essence. In the letter, he expressed, “I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six drinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open, and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it’s perfect. This is where 101 lived.”
The commissioner went on to reminisce about Charlie’s arrival on April 28, 2005, describing him as the last of five and undeniably unique. He characterised Charlie as “cheeky, intense, and funny – a loveable ratbag from the moment he could talk.” Despite his occasional exasperating traits, Charlie was known for his caring nature, always looking out for others and befriending the lonely.
Reflecting on Charlie’s diverse passions, from Lego and sports like BBL, scooters, footy, and cricket to unconventional interests like downhilling, Fortnite, and skateboarding, the letter portrayed him as someone who embraced each new endeavour with unwavering intensity.
The letter also delved into Charlie’s quirky habits and preferences, from his aversion to cheese to his mastery of kitchen appliances like the air fryer, nutribullet, and steamer. It humorously captured Charlie’s knack for pushing boundaries at home, with phrases like “f** off Charlie” echoing through the household.
Despite Charlie’s disdain for schoolwork and punctuality, the letter highlighted his boundless enthusiasm for family and friends. Described as having a circle of friends most could only dream of, Charlie was portrayed as a social magnet who effortlessly blended with his brother’s mates and brought life to every gathering.
The letter concluded with a poignant reminder that “101” is Charles Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve – a vibrant force of nature whose impact will forever be etched in the memories of those who knew him. In a touching gesture, the family used the letter’s release to advocate for organ donation, urging readers to discuss this vital topic with their loved ones.