PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Family, friends and the community paid their final respects today to a fallen U.S. Airman from Kennedy Township who was killed earlier this month in a helicopter crash on the English Coast.
As the procession left Copeland Funeral Home in Moon Township, people were waiting along Brodhead Road – braving the cold – to honor Capt. Sean Ruane, a fallen hero.
“Just to show our respect to this fine young man,” said Lisa Dowling.
“Just a way of saying thank you,” added George Kowalsky. “It’s a great sacrifice to serve for this country, and that’s what he did.”
The 31-year-old Air Force captain was one of four servicemen killed when their helicopter crashed, during a training exercise in Norfolk, England.
Capt. Ruane was a 2000 graduate of Montour High School. He leaves a wife and 14-month-old son behind.
“It’s so sad for his widow, and a one-year-old little boy, and for his family and for all the other servicemen that are out there serving. A big thank you to them, too,” said Sandy Henkemeyer.
Some people didn’t know the captain or his family, but they felt it was important to be here.
“It’s important to show the family they’re not alone; that the people are out there to support them, show them love and show them respect,” Mary Ann Kowalsky said.
“I’m just here to show support for this family – with the sacrifice the captain did, for our country,” added Cindy Viish. “It’s really touching.”
The funeral procession didn’t take the direct route to the Church of Christ off of Mt. Nebo Road.
It traveled through Kennedy Township where Capt. Ruane grew up and was greeted by dozens of flag-waving supporters.
The procession passed by the Shenango Coke Plant on Neville Island where workers waved flags in a show of support. Capt. Ruane often worked at the plant with his father, Mike, while on summer break from college.
“He was just a great guy to work with, just respectful, helpful, anything that he could do to help any of us,” said John Trieschock, a family friend.
“Our hearts and our prayers go out to Mike’s family, more than I can even express,” added Ralph Talerico, another family friend.
In yet another show of support, members of the Patriot Guard were holding flags and standing at attention, as the casket was taken inside the church for a final tribute to the fallen hero.
Afterwards, Capt. Ruane was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery.