Troopers Honor Fallen Members

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated May 27, 2010 at 5:14 PM EST

Memorial Day may focus our attention on those who've served in battles overseas.

But it's also to honor the men and women who've served at home.

Action News reporter Matt Markham takes us to the annual State Police service in Sidney where Troop C has had particularly tough year.

Heavy air was no match for heavy hearts for State Police in Sidney.

The annual ceremony honoring those who died from Troop C was the first without Jill Mattice and Michael Lynch.

"As we came out of the academy we became roommates, we were both stationed in Oneonta, so we were very close," said Sara Stedman, friend and colleague of Jill Mattice.

"His values were rock solid to the core. And he very much embodies the value of the state police," said Kevin Pierson, Lynch's cousin and best friend.

Mattice was killed in a car accident in January coming back from her post as a school resource officer.

Less than two weeks later, Lynch lost his battle with cancer after fourteen years as the troop's emergency coordinator.

"There's a noticeable emptiness still when you come in this building and Michael Lynch isn't there and you don't hear his laughter or see his smile," said Kevin Molinari with New York State Police.

Some make it a point to come back to the ceremony every year, like Joy Rowe, to honor her husband Sam.

"It's been a long time since he passed on, that was 40 years ago. But we keep coming back every year, because there's always someone who's specifically honored on this day," said Rowe.

Families of Lynch and Mattice laid a ceremonial wreaths in the Sergeants memory.

And troopers saw a memorial to Mattice unveiled, next a butterfly bush, because Jill loved butterflies.

"I'm sure she's watching over us. And she was always quick with a smile, always having fun, and I'm sure she wants everyone to keep her memory on in smiles," said Stedman.

Smiles sometimes fighting through tears, as one family leans on another.

Trooper Mattice was the first female trooper to die in the line of duty in New York.

Sergeant Lynch had coordinated the troop's response plans for the September 11th attacks in New York City, and relief efforts for New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

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