FULTON, NY – Trooper Amanda Anna died early Saturday from injuries she suffered a few hours earlier on Friday night in an accident while she was on duty.
The 31-year-old Liverpool resident’s obituary said she is survived by her four-year-old son; her fiancé and his three children; her parents; siblings; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.
It should be noted, however, that she is also survived by thousands of men and women in law enforcement and EMTs all across the country. Hundreds of them crowded into Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton, Thursday afternoon and evening to pay their respects and celebrate her life.
Wearing black stripes across their shields, they spoke of her commitment to family, her competitive nature and desire to help others.
Keith Tombs was her basketball coach for four years at Houghton College.
“Trooper Anna was a great competitor as a basketball player. She played very hard, always gave 100 percent,” he said, adding that he hadn’t seen her in a while since her graduation. “She was a great young lady to coach. We’re going to miss her very much.”
His daughter, Janelle Tombs, played basketball with Trooper Anna.
“I only got one year with Amanda. But, it was definitely a year worth remembering. Anybody who is a part of the women’s team at Houghton is family. We try to stay in touch, we try to have get-togethers every once in a while,” she said. “Amanda just loved life. She always had a smile on her face. She was always down to earth, very peaceful, befriended everybody. She just had a great personality.”
Gazing out over the hundreds of people lining up to pay their respects, Janelle noted that it just goes to show how many lives in different areas Trooper Anna touched.
“We’re saying goodbye here on earth. But we’ll see her again one day in Heaven,” she added.
Another trooper, from Maine, said troopers have a special community across the country.
“Our president put an email out to our department asking for troopers to come and pay our respects not only to Trooper Anna but her family,” Jason Wing said.
The turnout shows how much respect the country does have for members of law enforcement, he said. He has had the opportunity to talk with families at other such events and they appreciate and understand everyone coming out, he added.
“This is obviously a tragic incident. (Today) is a wonderful show of support for the family and all the troopers; a wonderful show of respect for Trooper Amanda Anna,” said Major Rodney Campbell, Troop D (Oneida) Commander. “We expect several hundred individuals from the public safety field, law enforcement, fire and ambulance from the local area and across the country. It is a wonderful show of support and respect by the individuals here.”
It is important to provide support for your co-workers, he said.
“Everybody’s real close. You work 24 hours a day together. The stations are really close-knit communities. The incident occurred last Friday night, we had most of the Hastings station show up at the hospital that evening whether they were working or not working,” he continued. “They were there to support one of their family members. Everybody comes together to get through the situation and help each other out.”
“I’ve known Amanda since she was little,” said Dan Mahaney of Hannibal. “Her parents were close friends, real close friends with my parents ( Mert and Mary Mahaney). I watched her grow up; went to her graduation party. You’ve got to live life every day. This is so sad.”
A native of Fair Haven, Trooper Anna graduated from Hannibal High School in 1999 and Houghton College, where she had excelled in scholastics and basketball.
Veronica Garcia of the Texas State Police came to pay her respects.
They always stay alert to in line of duty deaths, the corporal and recruiter explained.
“We actually heard about this on Saturday. Most importantly, we wanted to honor her. It takes a special person to be out there every day and do this. So we are here to give our condolences and mourn with them; we are a big family, law enforcement,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. When we lose somebody, it hits all of us. We all feel it in some shape or form.”
They are all aware of the dangers associated with the job.
“Every time we walk out the door it’s ‘are you coming home at the end of your shift?’ We always have to make sure that we emphasize that,” she said. “I have small ones at home and I always kiss them bye and tell them I love them before I leave to work and when I put them to bed so they know.”
The troopers are a big family and when something like this happens, it hits home, she said.
She praised Trooper Anna’s commitment to help others.
“It is a great privilege to do this,” Garcia said. “It does take a special person to want to do this and be faced with all the challenges that come with it. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My goal in life is to make a difference; and if it’s one person or a thousand people, that’s what I’m here for.”
State Police are continuing the investigation into the crash and are asking the public’s help
“We have contacted the businesses and everything in the area, we’re still following up with that stuff,” said Trooper Jack Keller, Public Information Officer for Troop “D” Headquarters. “We’re taking the vehicle apart and inspecting it. The accident reconstruction will take some time to complete.”
Anyone traveling on CR 37 in the town of Hastings in close proximity to the time of the accident, 11:26 p.m. May 26, or anyone with information about the crash, are asked to contact State Police in Oneida at 366-6000.
Trooper Anna was a six-year veteran with the New York State Police. She was assigned to the Hastings barracks.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through the end of business on Friday.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Friday at North Syracuse Baptist Church, 420 South Main St., North Syracuse; the governor is expected to attend.
Committal and burial will be at Springbrook Cemetery, Route 104A, in Sterling. The funeral procession is slated to go by Trooper Anna’s former school.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Trooper Amanda Anna Fund, P.O. Box 485, Fair Haven, NY 13064.