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Community members also turn out to support family of fallen deputy

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Among those that filled the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the funeral service of fallen Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman was Katrina Petroski who now lives in the Town of Hanover, which is south of Buffalo.

Petroski grew up with Wyman in New Hartford and had been friends with him since they were little. She says Kurt was like a brother to her.

"I knew the trouble he faces when you're a cop, but you never expect it to happen to someone you know," Petroski said.

Petroski says Wyman was a very special person.

"He touched so many lives and had a chance to change so many people," she said. "I know I'm a different person because of him."

Melissa Tobiasz of New York Mills says she and her fiance were friends with Deputy Wyman and his wife Lauren.

"They just have a beautiful family," Tobiasz said. "It's just devastating that this could even happen, and we're here to just really show support for them."

Tobiasz says Wyman and his family deserved such a beautiful tribute Monday, both inside and outside of the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Outside, as the Wyman family pulled up, they could see a line of U.S. flags being held by members of both the Patriot Guard Riders of New York and Chapter 490 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. based in Utica.

Leo Griffin, spokesperson for the Patriot Guard Riders of New York says his men and women stood silent outside the entrance where the family pulls up.

"We stay outside to show honor," Griffin said. "The community can see that, the family can see that when they arrive. We want the family to really understand that the community and the Patriot Guard are with them, we stand with them."

Griffin says that besides being there for the family, his unit comes out to support every member of every law enforcement agency that shows up.

"This gentleman gave his life, simply to settle a domestic dispute, but these officers do that everyday," Griffin said. "They stand out there as a line between us and trouble."

Vinny Egresits, spokesperson for Chapter 490 of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. says his members are glad to spend time supporting the families of both fallen officers as well as fallen service men and women.

Egresits says Deputy Wyman's passing hurts.

"He's a former marine, I'm a former marine," Egresits said. "We all stick together pretty close. We're very sorry for what happened, and there's no better way of showing it, than the way we're doing it today. It's a very sad day here for everybody here today."

State Senator Joe Griffo, of Rome, paid his respects to the Wyman family Monday as well, and says he is happy to see such a big turnout.

"I think this is a great reflection of the community as well as the law enforcement community across the country," Senator Griffo said, adding that this is such a tragic story all around. "I mean, if you look at all aspects of the story and how this young man full of promise lost his life and then how a new child was born into the family. All we can say to the family is we care about you, we support you."

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