Monument in Indiana Township honors slain FBI agent Hicks
For Charlotte Carrabotta, an Indiana Township memorial to her slain son gives her a place closer to home to reflect on memories still raw despite the passage of time.
She watched her young, lanky boy set and achieve the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout and later a Baltimore police officer and FBI agent stationed in Pittsburgh.
Agent Samuel Hicks, 33, a Westmoreland County native, was gunned down on Nov. 19, 2008, while serving a drug warrant at an Indiana Township home.
His family, fellow agents, township officials and others gathered on Tuesday at the Indiana Township Town Hall to unveil a memorial that began at the insistence of a stranger and was made possible by donations, fundraisers and the determination of a young Boy Scout hoping to emulate Hicks' achievements.
“For five years I've held it together in public. But this is going to be hard to do today, because this has been such a personal project,” said Carrabotta of Rockwood, Somerset County. “When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I struggle for answers and I struggle for peace. But here we are, still honoring our commitment to his memory. And I think Samuel would have been so proud of that.”
Christina Korbe, 44, admitted to shooting Hicks as he and other agents arrived to arrest her husband at the couple's home. She is serving a 15-year, 10-month sentence.
The memorial, a waist-high granite stone etched with Hicks' name and surrounded by the words “Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity,” is flanked by two benches and landscaping.
It began with an April 2011 letter from John Rex, 57, a lifelong township resident and Middle Road volunteer firefighter. He wrote township supervisors to ask about a memorial to Hicks.
“You don't give your life for a community you don't live in and not have that recognized,” Rex said. “You don't make a sacrifice like that and not have something here forever to remember it by.”
People began raising money in the fall of 2011. A car wash held by Fairview Elementary School students netted $1,100, said Holly Sammartino, township community services coordinator. Many residents sent checks.
As the memorial began to take shape, Treavor Moore, 16, asked whether he could help.
The Fox Chapel High School junior, a Boy Scout with Troop 380 based at Christ's Church on Squaw Run Road, is working toward his Eagle Scout rank, Scouting's highest.
On Oct. 26, Moore and other Scouts joined more than 20 FBI agents to put plants and mulch around the memorial to prepare for the dedication.
“This was special to me, because Sam Hicks is someone I can look up to,” Moore said.
Carrabotta said the memorial will become a place where she can sit quietly, reading or just thinking about the son who never stopped striving to be the best.
“I am grateful that in his 33 years, he accomplished more than most people have in a lifetime, and he didn't have to use anyone's name but his own,” she said. “I will work every day to live a life that would have made him proud.
“He's remembered. That is, in my heart, what I want more than anything.”
Jill King Greenwood is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.