STOCKTON (CBS13) – It’s hard to come across anyone with an unkind word to say about Chris Stevens, the ambassador killed during an attack at the U.S. consulate in Libya on Tuesday.
He grew up in Davis and the Bay Area, and while friends here are undoubtedly saddened by his death, they’re also the first to tell you that Chris Stevens knew the risks and was more than willing to take them.
There’s no doubt Ambassador Stevens held an important position in Libya, but it was his role as best man and lifelong friend that Paul Feist will remember most.
“He’d always stop by here either on his way to the Bay Area or back and we’d cook him a nice meal here on the patio,” the Stockton resident said Wednesday.
The two went to high school together in the Bay Area and even then Feist says Stevens, 52, had a calling for public service.
“He developed an affinity for the region during his time in the Peace Corps in Morocco,” he said.
The last time Paul would see his friend was during a send-off to the position that would ultimately end in his death.
“It was right before he was leaving to be sworn in by Secretary Hillary Clinton,” he said. “She had requested she personally swear him in. He was so respected by both sides of the aisle. We just gathered and hoisted a glass to him and prayed for his safe return.”
But Wednesday, friends learned the man many described as dedicated and devoted to the Middle East had died there, a victim of the violence he tried to end for 20 years.
John Natsoulas grew up across the street from Stevens in Davis. They attended elementary and middle school together.
“I just think he knew with all his experience, he could make a difference,” he said.
John recalled simpler times together.
“For us a big deal, we’d call it the good life, was to ride our bikes to Fluffy Donuts at the mall,” he said.
Natsoulas says the ambassador knew his job was dangerous but considered his Middle East mission more important than his life.
“He was all over the Middle East. ‘Why are your going to all these places, Chris?’” he said he’d ask his friend.
“This is where it’s happening, this is where I can make a difference,” was Stevens’ response.