A mother whose son died in the line of duty serving the Vermont State Police received an assurance that his name will be added to a memorial, despite delays, after necn started looking into the situation.
“Kyle was a hero,” Ginny Woolf of Watertown, New York said Friday, adding that she thinks about her late son, Trooper Kyle Young, every day—all throughout the day.
Young, a father of two girls who also served several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force, died in September 2015 at age 28, after collapsing from heat stroke while training for a specialized tactical team of the Vermont State Police.
“It’s important for our family to have his memory alive,” Woolf said of her son.
In 2016, Young’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
However, back home in Vermont, nearly four years after his death, the Vermont Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial in Pittsford still has not been updated to reflect the loss of Young.
“He deserves it,” Woolf said.
Col. Matt Birmingham, the commander of the Vermont State Police, has requested that the committee in charge of the memorial add Young’s name to it, according to a VSP spokesman, who noted that Birmingham did so with a sense of urgency.
Woolf encouraged necn to seek answers from the committee about why her son’s name had not been added, and the news station took those to Kevin Blongy.
“Her son definitely will get recognized,” said Blongy, who is a police officer in Rutland. “Our purpose is to honor anybody who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
Blongy explained the all-volunteer memorial committee has been challenged by fundraising, the need to research other historic names that belong on the tablets in Pittsford, and weather factors that made carving the stone difficult.
Then, he said, the group encountered problems with a vendor.
Blongy told necn the committee has now overcome those hurdles, and promised the names will be added very soon.
“We will not give up on it,” Blongy pledged. “I’m committed to finishing this, with the rest of the committee.”
Woolf said she deeply appreciates the work to remember her son, and other Vermont first responders who died in the line of duty.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Woolf said, referencing both the promise by the committee to add Trooper Young’s name to the memorial, and the continued advocacy for her son’s memory by Birmingham and other members of Vermont State Police command staff.
Young’s name was read aloud Friday, along with the names of more than 30 other officers, at a memorial service at the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford, which houses the Vermont Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial.
Law enforcement officers, their loved ones, family members of fallen officers, and state and federal officials including Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, and U.S. Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan attended the memorial service—which honored a range of law enforcement members from correctional officers to state troopers to municipal police officers, sheriffs’ deputies, and more.
The event happens each May, during National Police Week, and is devoted to honoring members of law enforcement who made the ultimate sacrifice working for the safety of their communities.
“We promise to never forget those folks,” said Chief Michael Evans of the Thetford Police Department, one of the event’s organizers. “Then annually, we hold this event to show that we do remember their sacrifices and the service that they gave to the people of Vermont.”
According to numbers compiled by the Vermont Police Academy, 36 Vermont law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty since the year 1814.
A separate ceremony is held in Pittsford in the fall which honors all first responders who died in the line of duty, including EMS personnel and firefighters, Blongy said. His aim is to have the memorial up-to-date by that event.