(WETM-TV) – One year ago this Tuesday, on July 2, 2018, New York State Trooper Nicholas Clark lost his life in the line of duty as he answered a distress call in the Town of Erwin.
Trooper Clark was shot in an exchange of gunfire between officers and a man barricaded inside a home. He died at the scene.
Clark was transported to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton but died on the scene. His body was transported by a police escort to his hometown of Canisteo.
Clark’s funeral took place the following Sunday at Alfred University, his alma matter.
Friends and many police officers from different departments came to Alfred University to pay their respects. They were also there to show support for his family and colleagues. Condolences were sent to the Clark Family from people who did not know Clark and his family.
“I think I’ll remember most that Nick was just an all around great guy,” Richard Allen, an inspector with the New York State Police, said on the day of the funeral last year. “I’ve met a lot of people that knew nick in the last few days that I didn’t know before this and I haven’t heard a single person say anything bad about him.”
Some officers came from as far as Chicago and Utah.
“The other reason that we come is we want the citizens and the blood and blue families to know that they’re not alone,” Christian Newlan, a Utah Patrol Officer, said then, “that they suffered a devastating loss but they have support all over the world especially all over the country.”
“being with our brothers from all over the country helps us cope with what happened,” Thomas Kolman, a detective with the Chicago Police Department, said.
Commemorations started to remember him. The New York State Police Benevolent Association and the Corning Home Depot teamed up. They asked residents to change their porch lights blue for Trooper Clark.
“I’m hoping that every time we happen to lose one of our own due to some sort of tragedy, we could do that to remember them by and maybe this will be the thing that starts that,” Jason Sheridan, a state trooper himself and delegate with the NYSPBA said last year.
“We wanted to do something special to show remembrance to Trooper Clark, support for the Clark family, law enforcement and the community as a whole,” Sean Montgomery, the manager of the Corning Home Dept, said.
Many throughout the region did change their lightbulbs to blue bulbs. Residents sent in pictures of their porch lights to 18 News.
The death sent shockwaves through the communities he lived, Canisteo and Troupsburg.
Clark grew up in Canisteo, but eventually moved to Troupsburg to be with relatives there.
Residents and friends in both towns reflected on what this loss meant to them. A banner was donated to the Town of Troupsburg in Clark’s honor. It was unfurled and community members signed the banner during the town’s annual heritage days.
“It’s a loss to the family, and for everybody in the community and in America,” Mark Zdanowski, a resident said last year after signing the banner. “When we lose a police officer, everybody loses out.”
Local elected officials said they knew Clark and remember him as he was growing up.
“I’ve seen him as he was growing up, as he would come to my work, where his stepfather worked and so-forth,” Ron Button, the Troupsburg Town Supervisor said, the day after Clark was killed. “I’ve seen him through life and thought, ‘boy, what a handsome, what a handsome guy he is’ and his personality was just great.”
“Nicholas Clark who was one of our hometown boys,” Monica Recktenwald, the Mayor of the Village of Canisteo said, in January of this Year. “If you Had not met Nick it didn’t matter if you lived here in Canisteo. you knew Nick Clark”
The Troupsburg Fire Department also had a black banner hanging up above the garage doors last year. It is a tradition to commemorate a first responder that fell in the line of duty.
His memory is kept alive and engrained. In May, the annual Steuben County Law Enforcement Memorial service erected a plaque with his name in his honor.
Both the New York State Assembly and Senate approved a bill that would name a bridge along Interstate 86 the Trooper Nicholas F. Clark Memorial ridge. All it needs now is Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.