If you were driving to the airport from Raleigh today, chances are you spotted Rav Marchand.
The former Army Captain (unverified) was posted up off of the Aviation Parkway exit on I-40 West, dancing on his prosthetic legs, waving his bouquet of flags, talking the ears off of all who stopped to listen to him.
He asked me if I knew about “the Marine that was murdered by RPD.”
Marchand was referring to Tommy Sadler, who was tased to death by Raleigh police just over two years ago.
Sadler suffered from bipolar disorder. He had indeed served in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged. One April morning in 2013, police were called to a Five Points church where Sadler —apparently experiencing a mental break—was yelling profanities. He died after police attempted to subdue him.
Marchand, who says he knew Sadler (also unverified), wouldn’t talk much about himself. He let his fatigues, his military gear and his boundless socio-political views paint the picture. “It isn’t about me,” he said. “Don’t let their memory be forgotten.”
Marchand did mention his wife, who he says also served in the Marine Corps. She died of breast cancer recently, he said, a diagnosis he says he traces back to her time spent working on a ship when she was enlisted in the Military.
When she met him last fall, Triangle journalist Pam Saulsby noted that Marchand, much like Sadler, “wrangles with demons.” But as do all who wrangle, Marchand knows some things—not the least of which is how to hold a captive audience.
Here is Rav Marchand, at exit 284, reciting a poem for Tommy.