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"It hasn't gotten any easier"
ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - "It hasn't gotten any easier," says Brian Wyman of the past year since his son, Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Kurt Wyman, was shot and killed in the line of duty.
"Times of the day, at a moment's notice, you remember him and you've just got to take a minute. Missing him is the biggest thing. Just knowing that you can't call him on the phone any more. Can't talk with him," says Wyman.
Elected officials, law enforcement and several members of the Wyman family gathered outside the Oneida County Sheriff's Department for a memorial ceremony honoring Deputy Wyman on the one-year anniversary of his death.
On June 6, 2011, Wyman was one of several Oneida County Sheriff's Deputies involved in a six-hour standoff with a emotionally disturbed man in the town of Augusta. That man, Christian Patterson, shot and killed Wyman and is now serving a life sentence without parole after being convicted by a jury of murder.
Congressman Richard Hanna gave the Sheriff's Department a U.S. flag which flew over the nation's capital. The flag was raised then lowered to half staff outside the law enforcement building now named in Deputy Wyman's honor. A member of the department played taps.
In stark contrast to all of that ceremony was the fallen deputy's greatest legacy - his children. Daughter Adyson Jynette, born the day her father was killed, turns one on Thursday. The blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl with tiny ponytails was restless, trying to get down from the laps of several family members and explore the grounds of the department. She succeeded at the conclusion of the ceremony. Her brother, two-year-old Alexander (Xander), rushed to hug his grandfather after Bryan Wyman addressed the crowd gathered to honor his son.
"I see a lot of Kurt's stubbornness and persistence in Xander and I see a lot of his humor in Adyson and so I try to cultivate that. I try to enjoy it," says the deputy's widow, Lauren Wyman.
Wyman says she wasn't alone for a minute the two months immediately following her husband's death. But then, when he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC, she turned a corner emotionally.
"After we buried Kurt, it brought a sense of peace because I knew where his remains were and I knew it was perfect and appropriate for him to be at Arlington," says Lauren Wyman.
It was during that time period that she was finally able to begin to adjust to a new life that she'd never imagined.
"After that, it was more figuring out okay, what does being a single mom look like," she said. "I guess sometimes I don't look at myself as a widow; I try to look at myself as a single mom, not by choice."
Deputy Wyman's father, Brian Wyman, says that the kind words spoken about his son's love of family and love of country are more than just lip service; they're how he lived his life every day. Brian Wyman hopes that people not only remember his son and his sacrifice, but think about how they live their own lives, and how they will be remembered.
"He had a legacy and it was a good legacy," Brian Wyman said. "People need to remember that no matter what they do they're going to have a legacy, whether it's good or bad. Kurt had a good legacy."