PORT HENRY - A half century later, an effort is under way to memorialize a Moriah state trooper killed in the line of duty.
Trooper Ronald John Donahue, who was born in Mineville and raised in Moriah Center, was shot and killed while making an arrest in Bombay May 23, 1959.
Jimmy Brooks, retired town of Moriah judge, is now seeking to establish a memorial to Donahue, noting his death was 50 years ago this Memorial Day weekend.
"I know in the town of Moriah we have many everyday heroes - parents, teachers and others," Brooks said at the April 14 Moriah town board meeting. "Every once in a while there is someone who puts themselves in harm's way; someone who deserves special recognition."
Brooks asked people with ideas for a memorial to contact him via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or to mail suggestions to the Town of Moriah, Park Place, Port Henry 12974.
"This year Memorial Day falls on the 25th of May, just two days after the date which marks the 50 years since our loss of Trooper Donahue," Brooks said. "It seems like Memorial Day would be a very fitting day to also remember and honor the courage, sacrifice and service of Trooper Ronald John Donahue."
Brooks noted Donahue family members still live in Moriah and support the memorial project.
Donahue, who was age 23 and a trooper less than a year, was shot and killed after he and his partner attempted to arrest a group of men who were creating a disturbance outside a courthouse.
Donahue and his partner had arrested a suspect earlier in the day and brought him in front of a judge for arraignment. After the arraignment the suspect's friends created a disturbance outside of the courthouse.
When Donahue and his partner attempted to arrest the men a struggle ensued and one of the suspects gained control of Donahue's gun. The suspect shot and wounded Donahue's partner and shot and killed Donahue.
Donahue's partner was able to return fire and wound the suspect, who was then taken into custody.
The suspect was convicted of manslaughter on June 24, 1960. He received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for five years.
The Association of Former New York State Troopers charged that Franklin County court officials had grossly mishandled the case. The general public was outraged. Donahue is one of 116 New York State Police to die in the line of duty.
"There are many people in the community who remember the incident and Trooper Donahue," Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. "I think this is fitting."
Scozzafava went on to praise Brooks for his role in creating a memorial.