A giant American flag flew at half-staff shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday as a funeral procession made its way through Port Henry, New York. Hundreds lined the streets to remember 29-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Dain Venne.
The volunteer firefighter died in an early November explosion as he cleared roadside bombs while serving in Afghanistan.
"We gather here today to remember him -- pay our respects as he comes back home," said Port Henry Fire Chief James Hughes. "Everyone just thought the world of him -- just an outstanding individual."
Firefighters from Venne's department and the surrounding areas held their helmets as the motorcade passed. They said the ceremony is a first step in the community's healing process.
"It's been a very difficult week, emotions are running high obviously, feelings are raw," Chief Hughes said. "He needs to be recognized for what he gave to the country, to his community and that's why you see all the people here," said Port Henry Mayor Ernie Guerin.
Guerin called it a sad day, but said he appreciated the turnout. He said Venne proved heroic at home, leaping into action to save lives after Tropical Storm Lee struck last year, and overseas, where he volunteered to continue serving his country rather than return home on leave. "He put everybody else first, you know, not himself. I mean he could've come home, but he stayed there and you know, that tells about his character," Mayor Guerin said.
Character that won't soon be forgotten in the town the young hero called home.
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