By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — PORT HENRY — Port Henry resident Dain Venne was killed in Afghanistan Saturday while serving with the U.S. Army Reserve.
Venne, 29, was on patrol when a roadside bomb exploded, according to preliminary reports.
Two other soldiers died with Venne when the bomb went off.
His parents are Brian and Laura (Harris) Venne of Port Henry. His father is a longtime Moriah town justice. Laura is a teacher at Moriah Central School.
Dain Venne was with the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division headquartered at Fort Drum, but reported to the Canton-Oswego U.S. Army Reserve Training Center. He had served one tour in Iraq and the current one in Afghanistan.
The family was notified Saturday afternoon, according to friends.
Venne was a graduate of Moriah Central School and was a student at St. Lawrence University in Canton when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. He enlisted in the U.S. Army soon after, friends said, in an effort to serve his country in a time of need.
This year, Venne received the Firefighter Commendation Medal from the Port Henry Fire Department for his life-saving actions in rescuing several stranded victims during August 2011 floods. His father accepted the award for him in May since he was serving in Afghanistan at the time.
Port Henry Fire Chief James Hughes said firefighters were at the fire station Sunday preparing for services that will likely be held later this week.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Venne and Harris families. We are devastated, like everyone else, over these events.”
He said Venne was a credit to the fire service.
“He was an outstanding firefighter, a perfect gentleman. It’s a reflection on his family how he carried himself, very respectful to his fellow firefighters. You couldn’t ask for a better person, better son; he was an overall good and decent human being.”
Hughes said Venne had worked with the youth of the area.
“He took an interest in youth, sports and education. He worked with kids, and I was very impressed that he could reach out to a young mind and make an impression. He had an ability to teach and educate.”
Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said Venne was a great member of the community.
“He got a medal for helping rescue people trapped at Port Henry Campground during the flood last year. It’s very sad. He was athletic and a very good boy.”
Venne has also been praised as one of the best football players Moriah ever had. A 2001 Moriah Central School graduate, Venne was named to the 2000 All-State Football Team as a running back and linebacker by the New York State Sports Writers Association.
Moriah Central School Superintendent William Larrow said school staff will meet to discuss a tribute to Venne.
“We want to honor Dain and his family. We’re all very close to the Venne family.
“He was a true leader, a model student and someone the entire community looked up to,” Larrow continued. “He was one of the very best. He believed in the military; he believed in his mission.”
Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said it’s a time of mourning for the town.
“Our hearts go out to the families. Dain was a true hero; one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He was respected by the entire community.”
Scozzafava said all flags in the Town of Moriah and Village of Port Henry will now fly at half mast in honor of Venne.
“It’s a horrible, horrible tragedy. When tragedy strikes, Moriah comes together, and we will now.”
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