Hundreds of people welcomed home the body of Dain Venne to Port Henry. Staff Sgt. Venne, age 29, of Port Henry was killed in Paktiya Province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 3.
The brilliant autumn afternoon belied the somber mood in the town of Moriah Nov. 11 as hundreds of people turned out to welcome home the body of native son Dain Venne.
Staff Sgt. Venne, age 29, of Port Henry was killed in Paktiya Province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
He is the son of Brian and Laura (Harris) Venne. Brian Venne is Moriah town justice and a former town trustee. Laura Venne is a teacher at Moriah Central School.
People, fire trucks, television crews and American flags lined Main Street Port Henry as Venne’s body came home.
Firefighters from Port Henry, Moriah and Mineville-Witherbee were joined by the Ticonderoga Fire Department as fire trucks lined both sides of the street. Venne was a member of the Port Henry department.
Also on site was the MacBoston 18 Truck. The truck is an inspirational and memorial vehicle in tribute fallen firefighters from the area. Mac is in memory of firefighter Paul MacMurray of Hudson Falls; Boston refers to the city of Boston, where the truck was purchased; 18 was MacMurray’s badge number. The vehicle also honors Brian Meyers Sr. of Schuylerville.
“It’s something no one wants to do, but something we have to do for a hero like Dain Venne,” the Rev. David Hirtle of the First Congregational Church in Crown Point said of the procession. “I’m pleased to see so many people.”
People came from all over to pay tribute to the fallen soldier, including members of Barneveld Fire Department.
Chief Brian Healey said his men made the nearly three-hour trip from the Utica area at the request of an absent member.
“One of our firefighters, John Gates, is in Afghanistan and served with Dain,” Healey said. “He contacted us through Facebook and asked us to represent him today. He thought Dain was a great guy, a great friend. We’re glad we can make this gesture.”
Patty Kolodzey of Port Henry said the turn out was more than a tribute to Venne.
“He was a wonderful boy and he comes from a wonderful family,” Kolodzey said. “This speaks to how much we think of the Venne family.”
Cindy Coogan’s husband has spent 24 years in the military, serving two tours in Iraq. He’s now on active duty assisting people in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
“My heart goes out to his family,” the Witherbee woman said. “He gave his life for our country. It’s because of people like Dain that we enjoy the lives we do. We need to remember all the sacrifices made by our military men and women.”
Grace French of Witherbee has known the Venne family for years. Her son played football at Moriah Central with Dain’s father Brian and her grandsons played with Dain.
“This is so sad,” French said. “I’ve known the Venne boys for a lot of years. They’re great people. I feel so badly for them.”
Venne’s funeral will be at St. Patrick’s Church in Port Henry at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. Calling hours will be 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at the Harland Funeral Home on Main Street in Port Henry.
Venne died along side Specialist Brett E. Gornewicz from Alden and Specialist Ryan P. Jayne from Campbell.
The men were assigned to the 444th Engineer Company, which is headquartered in Oswego. The unit is an element of the 178th Engineer Battalion of the 412th Theater Engineer Command.
Lt. Col. Doril Sanders of the 412th TEC said the men were combat engineers conducting “route-clearing” duties for a convoy when an improvised explosive device blasted their vehicle.
Venne had completed an earlier tour of duty in Iraq and was serving one in Afghanistan.