TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Large crowd greets Air Force pilot's hearse in Kennedy

Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Members of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, from left, Nick Hemke, Mike Swantek, and Paul McCurdy, salute the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane when it passed along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Members of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, from left, Nick Hemke, Mike Swantek, and Paul McCurdy, salute the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane when it passed along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including members of Girl Scout Troop 51323 of Montour, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including members of Girl Scout Troop 51323 of Montour, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including Markie Dobrowsky, 6, and other members of Cub Scout Pack 306 of Kennedy, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including Markie Dobrowsky, 6, and other members of Cub Scout Pack 306 of Kennedy, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Kinslee Klippa, 3, and her mother, Heather, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Kinslee Klippa, 3, and her mother, Heather, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including Addison Musta, 5, of Robinson, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, thousands of supporters, including Addison Musta, 5, of Robinson, turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Emily Castelveter, 4, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Emily Castelveter, 4, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Firefighter Joe Kulik directs traffic before the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Firefighter Joe Kulik directs traffic before the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to  wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - Members of the Ingram Volunteer Fire Department salute the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane when it passed along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Members of the Ingram Volunteer Fire Department salute the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane when it passed along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Greg Cannella Jr., of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, fights the wind to keep the flag unfurled. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Greg Cannella Jr., of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, fights the wind to keep the flag unfurled. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to  wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Angel Asher, 6, of Robinson, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Angel Asher, 6, of Robinson, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Steve Moll, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Steve Moll, of Kennedy, along with thousands of supporters who turned out along the procession route despite the weather, wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Greg Cannella Jr., of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, fights the wind to make sure the flag stays unfurled. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>As the hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014, Greg Cannella Jr., of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department, fights the wind to make sure the flag stays unfurled. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather,to  wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review - The hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Keith Hodan  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The hearse carrying Captain Sean Michael Ruane passes along Pine Hollow Road under the fire truck arch in Kennedy, Saturday, January 25, 2014. Thousands of supporters turned out along the procession route despite the weather to wave flags and pay their respects to the fallen soldier.
- U.S. Air Force Capt. Sean Ruane
U.S. Air Force Capt. Sean Ruane
- Sean Ruane
Sean Ruane

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 6:33 p.m.
 

For the second time in a week, Kelly Rauschart stood quietly and watched the body of a man she never met pass by.

Rauschart, 50, joined hundreds of people along Pine Hollow Road in Kennedy on Saturday morning to greet the funeral procession for Air Force Capt. Sean Ruane. Two days earlier, Rauschart, an American Airlines flight attendant, watched in silence with others at Pittsburgh International Airport as an honor guard took Ruane's casket from the plane she was about to board.

Ruane, 31, a Montour High School graduate from Kennedy, died with three airmen on Jan. 7, when the Pave Hawk helicopter he was flying crashed during a low-level training flight in England. A combat rescue pilot, husband and father of a 14-month-old boy, Ruane deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan. His family buried him in a private ceremony in Resurrection Cemetery.

Gray clouds hung low over Kennedy, hiding the blue sky that tugged at Ruane throughout his life. A steady wind drove powdery snow through the 20-degree air, stirring the flags held by those who lined the road.

“He gave his life. I can give an hour in the cold,” Rauschart said. “It is our responsibility to be here for him.”

The township's fire chief, Christopher Gutt, organized the gathering, as he did when Army Staff Sgt. and Kennedy native Patrick Kutschbach died in 2007. As word spread, six fire companies and two ambulance companies asked to take part.

Several of Ruane's childhood friends warmed themselves in a foyer of a small building while waiting for the procession. Janelle Ganley, 33, of Oakdale wore the small, gold, heart-shaped pendant Ruane gave her in high school. She, Jamie Chambers, Brian Ganley and Jessica Simpson remembered an athlete, a saxophone player and a friend who moved easily between the social groups that can seem so intractable to adolescents.

“You're not going to find one clique of friends,” said Simpson, 32, of Beaver. “He was friends with everyone.”

The procession, led by eight police vehicles from various departments, passed the crowd after 10 a.m. It passed Hilary Zubritzky, 65, Ruane's middle school home economics teacher, and Kevin Maehling, 49, of Mt. Lebanon, who with his wife, Stacy, wanted to teach their daughter Kiera, 8, about respect for the dead.

Steve Moll, 65, of Kennedy stood near the end of the crowd. An Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, Moll said his son attended Montour High School ahead of Ruane and his daughter graduated two years behind him.

“He's one of ours,” Moll said.

Mourners inside more than 60 cars looked through their windows as they slowly passed the silent crowd. Some in the cars waved. Others wept.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7900 or mwereschagin@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. County police officer on leave after assault charges filed
  2. Civil War vet gets 21-gun salute
  3. Port Authority of Allegheny County eyes $2M in detour costs
  4. Allegheny County Airport gets FAA grant to trim trees under flight path
  5. Newsmaker: H. Scott Cunningham
  6. Teen caught after stolen car crashes in Homewood
  7. Pa. trooper jailed in co-worker’s fatal shooting during training class
  8. Overnight closures, lane restrictions announced for Fort Pitt Tunnel, Parkway West
  9. Man convicted in North Side stabbing
  10. Leadership rises as issue for Pa. voters in new poll
  11. 3 Brentwood council members submit resignation letters