Thursday, December 18, 2014

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'It's a Hard Day:' Hundreds Mourn State Trooper Skinner's Death

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: 'It's a Hard Day:' Hundreds Mourn State Trooper Skinner's Death
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PORT DICKINSON N.Y. -- A line stretched down Chenango Street in Port Dickinson, as hundreds of community members, family and friends came out to honor fallen New York State Police Trooper Christopher Skinner.

"It's a hard day. It's never anything that you would expect. Everyone of us feels like wee invisible so for something like this to happen, it's somewhat surreal," said Trooper Matt Maciak.

Skinner was in the middle of a traffic stop on I-81 near the Castle Creek exit on Thursday, when, according to authorities, 60-year-old Almond Upton intentionally struck and killed Skinner. Police charged Upton with first-degree murder.

For the past few months, Skinner had been assigned to patrol the work zones around the Prospect Mountain project. Those who worked with him said he was committed to making sure those driving in the area, as well as the construction workers, were as safe as possible.

"Chris was very important to anyone that worked in construction, in addition to the things he did for the community and his family. " said Jack Williams, the regional director for the DOT. "We are indebted to him for everyday of our work day he kept us safe in our work zones. He made our work zones better."

It wasn't just local law enforcement that came out to honor the 13-year veteran, law enforcement from all over the country came to show their respect to a fellow brother.

"It's really hard. I've never met this gentlemen, but their one of us. I just really wanted to come here and talk to the family, console the family and let them know there's other people out there worrying about that," said Arkansas State Police Trooper Mark Vavak.

Those who knew Skinner said he was a dedicated community member, who was always willing to lend a helping hand.

"We lost someone who was more than willing to drop whatever he was doing to come help and if he didn't know how to do it, he would learn," said Maciak.

"We'll always remember him. He means the world to us and just for the work that he did. We'll never forget him" said Williams.

Skinner is survived by his mother, brother, fiancee and two children. His funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Johnson City.

Time Warner Cable News will broadcast the services live on the air, and on the Web.

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