American flags lined downtown Port Henry Monday to honor a fallen soldier from the lakeside community.
"Devastating, tough to handle," said Don Tesar. The Moriah football coach and family friend fought back tears as he paged through a yearbook looking at pictures of his former all-state running back, Dain Venne.
"He was an old school football player," said Thomas Anderson, a former football coach. "If he had the choice to break into the open field or run someone over, he would run someone over."
After graduating from Moriah in 2001, Venne enrolled at St. Lawrence University. He had dreams of becoming a teacher, but his career path changed after the 9/11 attacks. He joined the U.S. Army. "He didn't even hesitate. I remember him coming in and saying, 'I'm going, I want to serve my country,'" Tesar recalled.
Venne served one tour in Iraq. Then in July, the 29-year-old deployed to Afghanistan. On Saturday his mission was cut short. Venne was on a Humvee that was clearing improvised explosive devices from a convoy route when one exploded. Venne and two other soldiers died, another was injured. Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, a close family friend, spoke with the hometown soldier just before the deployment to ask why he was risking his life. Scozzafava remembered his reply: "'If you were there and saw the suffering from the innocent victims that are in this war torn country, the women, the children -- we absolutely need to be there,'" he said.
Staff Sgt. Venne turned down an opportunity to take leave and return to Port Henry last weekend. He wanted to remain in Afghanistan with his unit. "His dad was telling me he was worried about the new recruits and didn't want to leave them," Scozzafava said.
Venne was community oriented. He volunteered as a youth football coach at the high school. He was also a member of the Port Henry Volunteer Fire Department and was rewarded the 2011 firefighter of the year, in part, for his heroism in rescuing three people in chest deep water at the local campground during Tropical Storm Lee. "That's the type of person he was. It wasn't about Dain, it was what he could do for others," Scozzafava said.
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:48 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:48:28 GMT
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home. Police say last Friday and again on Wednesday, they caught 34-year-old Jesse Johnson living in another man's homeMore >>
A Townshend man will be in court for breaking into a house and making himself at home. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:25 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:25:30 GMT
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money. As part of its Drive for Education Program, Berlin City Auto Group just donated more thanMore >>
A Williston car dealership is revved up about education. So, it's letting some schools drive off with some money.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:19 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:19:26 GMT
A proposed fee to cross the U.S.-Canadian border hit a roadblock. The House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment by Congressman Bill Owens banning Homeland Security from using funding to studyMore >>
A proposed fee to cross the U.S.-Canadian border hit a roadblock.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:16 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:16:34 GMT
New Hampshire's House says a casino isn't in the cards for the state. The House killed a bill that would have allowed 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games at a single casino, most likely at aMore >>
New Hampshire's House says a casino isn't in the cards for the state.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:13 AM EDT2013-05-23 09:13:01 GMT
Montreal officials say the water in most of the city is unsafe to drink Thursday morning. A boil order has been issued through mid-day Thursday. They report ongoing work at the country's second largestMore >>
Montreal officials say the water in most of the city is unsafe to drink due to bacteria concerns. More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:16:19 GMT
Jeremy Dodge doesn't want to leave his childhood home in East Montpelier. But his days on Foster Road are numbered. "It's my homestead," he said. "You know, I planned on dying here." That plan changedMore >>
A Vt. man about to lose his property at a tax sale sold it to Gov. Peter Shumlin, but now claims the state's leader took advantage of him. The governor says the allegations are misleading and he offered his neighbor a fair price.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:21:11 GMT
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a Vermont case about limiting search warrants in an attempt to protect privacy. The Chittenden County prosecutor's office and the Vermont attorney general appealedMore >>
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a Vermont case about limiting search warrants in an attempt to protect privacy.More >>