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September 20, 2018

Hundreds Line Street To Welcome Kyle Rookey Home


OSWEGO, NY – Hundreds of people, young and old, lined both sides of East First Street to welcome Spc. Kyle Rookey home on Tuesday night.

From right to left: Andrea Hanlon, Donna Jackson, Caitlyn Hanlon, and Hal Hanlon pay their   respects to Kyle.

From right to left: Andrea Hanlon, Donna Jackson, Caitlyn Hanlon, and Hal Hanlon pay their respects to Kyle.

The 23-year-old Oswego native died Sept. 2 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the result of “a non-combat related incident.”

The queue stretched from Utica Street north to Bridge Street, many waved American flags or carried posters with messages to Kyle and his family. Several wiped away tears.

A large contingent of law enforcement vehicles and dozens of members of The Patriot Guard Riders of New York riding motorcycles escorted the hearse bearing the soldier’s body from the Oswego County Airport to the funeral home.

At about 7:20 p.m.,  the procession began to pull out. First, a phalanx of police vehicles from   local, county and state agencies headed down the driveway to secure the exit. They were   followed by the motorcyclists. A moment or two later, the hearse left, with a long line of cars   trailing behind, presumably full of family.  One car had its windows open and small   American flags hung out from it. One woman waved to the onlookers, but mostly, they looked   straight ahead.

At about 7:20 p.m., the procession began to pull out. First, a phalanx of police vehicles from local, county and state agencies headed down the driveway to secure the exit. They were followed by the motorcyclists. A moment or two later, the hearse left, with a long line of cars trailing behind, presumably full of family. One car had its windows open and small American flags hung out from it. One woman waved to the onlookers, but mostly, they looked straight ahead.

Commander John Young of VFW Post 587 in Fulton was one of the many veterans that mingled with active servicemen in the crowd.

“We’re here to support all the troops, and especially our fallen brother,” he said. “This is happening way too often. Our hearts go out to his family.”

“It’s important to come out and support one of our members,” said Scott Ciesla of the OHS Marching Buccaneers. “A lot of people remember Kyle.”

Several members of the band stood solemnly on the side of the street near Oswego’s Peace Garden

“We’re just here to show our respects,” said Jeff McCrobie, Oswego fire chief. “This is the shift working now as well as some off duty personnel. We’re here to pay our respects to Kyle and support his family.”

Holding a large America Flag at the airport are Jim Weinhold, at left, and Father Moritz   Fuchs.

Holding a large America Flag at the airport are Jim Weinhold, at left, and Father Moritz Fuchs.

A fire truck was parked in the Tim Horton’s parking lot; a huge American Flag affixed to its ladder flew about the street.

Sandy Murphy held a large American Flag as she waited for the procession to arrive.

“For the amount of people that Oswego has, I think (the crowd) could be bigger,” she said. “It’s still a little early.”

Jessica Blodgett recalled Kyle as being “his own person.”

John Young, commander of Post 587 in Fulton holds an America Flag as he awaits the   procession.

John Young, commander of Post 587 in Fulton holds an America Flag as he awaits the procession.

She and Kyle worked together in OHS on the theater tech crew.

“That’s for sure. He would do anything to make somebody laugh. He was really crazy – in a good way, a good way! It’s hard to really define him. He was definitely his own person,” she said.

“We were all very close friends with Kyle,” Caitlyn Hanlon said. “I graduated with him. He was one of my best friends. We had been in the same class together since preschool. We were always hanging out together, so it’s rough, it’s very rough.”

Their class has seen more than its share of tragedies, she added.

“This makes eight that we’ve lost from our class. And it’s sad to think that we’re not even 25 years old yet. So it’s rough on everybody,” Caitlyn said. “But it bonds us together. It makes us closer, thankful for what we’ve got and who we’ve got in our lives.”

The Patriot Guard Riders of New York took part in the procession Tuesday night. On   Wednesday, they will form a flag line for Kyle's calling hours.

The Patriot Guard Riders of New York took part in the procession Tuesday night. On Wednesday, they will form a flag line for Kyle’s calling hours.

The Rookey family asked that the Patriot Guard Riders of New York form a flag line for his calling hours Wednesday.

The Patriot Guard Riders of New York is a group of patriots from across the state that have one thing in common besides motorcycles – an unwavering respect for America’s freedom and security.

Their main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission has two basic objectives.

1. Show sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

Mary Ann Pettie holds a sign thanking Kyle for his service to our country.

Mary Ann Pettie holds a sign thanking Kyle for his service to our country.

2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters.

Calling hours will be held Wednesday 4-8 p.m. at the Dain-Cullinan Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be private at the convenience of the family.

Burial with full military honors will be in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

On behalf of the family, the Oswego High School Class of 1981 has started a fund in memory of Kyle to benefit the music and theatre departments at Oswego High School.

There were dozens of average folks and veterans at the Oswego County Airport, lining the   driveway out of the airport, carrying flags and occasionally dabbing at an eye.

There were dozens of average folks and veterans at the Oswego County Airport, lining the driveway out of the airport, carrying flags and occasionally dabbing at an eye.

Donations may be sent to Oswego City School District, Attn: Treasurer, 120 E. First St., Oswego, NY 13126.

Donations to a college fund for Kyle’s daughter may be made payable to Flora Kyleigh Rookey in care of Carol Sue Akers 112 Niagara St., Oswego, NY 13126.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father Moritz Fuchs salutes as the hearse drives by on its way to Oswego.

Father Moritz Fuchs salutes as the hearse drives by on its way to Oswego.

Linda Fuller, Mike Cloonan and Sandy Murphy show their support of Kyle and his family.

Linda Fuller, Mike Cloonan and Sandy Murphy show their support of Kyle and his family.

Snickers has a patriotic look as she sits and watches the crowd.

Snickers has a patriotic look as she sits and watches the crowd.

The casket is placed in a hearse as the procession readies to get under way.

The casket is placed in a hearse as the procession readies to get under way.

Members of the Oswego Fire Department salute as the procession arrives.

Members of the Oswego Fire Department salute as the procession arrives.

One Response “Hundreds Line Street To Welcome Kyle Rookey Home”

  1. September 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Although i was not able to attend due to a previous Engagement, my sincere Thanks to this brave man for his service to our Country.

    Our Deepest Sympathy and regard to the Family of Kyle and those who protest these events, REMEMBER: THESE BRAVE SOULS GAVE THEIR ALL SO YOU CAN DO YOUR PROTESTS SO PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL!

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