Honoring a fallen Marine

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:05

Lance Cpl. Scott Lynch comes home to Greenwood Lake, By Nancy Kriz GREENWOOD LAKE - Smile though your heart is aching. It was the lyrics to this song, sung by the Tuxedo-based George F. Baker High School choir, which opened the funeral service of Lance Cpl. Scott Lynch on Wednesday morning at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Greenwood Lake. And, on a crisp autumn day highlighted by bright blue skies and the changing colors of the season, Lynch was laid to rest at St. Stephen’s Cemetery in Warwick following a funeral service attended by hundreds, and broadcast onto the street to those who couldn’t fit into the church. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, not so soon in the life of this 22-year-old, newly-married young man who should have had decades of living ahead of him. Lynch was killed on Oct. 6 in Afghanistan during a hostile incident while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force Forward. He returned to a hero’s welcome in Greenwood Lake last Monday, with his funeral held this past Wednesday. Thousands of people, according to Greenwood Lake Mayor Barbara Moore, lined Route 17A and Megans Way to the Routes 210- 17A junction on Monday to pay their respects to Lynch as his funeral cortège - led by a procession of Hudson Valley HellCats Firefighter Motorcycle Club motorcyclists - made its way through the streets and underneath a huge American flag. ‘One of us’ From little children holding “thank you” signs to local residents, elected officials and veterans groups, the crowd instinctively knew to place their hands over their hearts, offer polite applause or stand silently to honor the memory and service of a man who gave his life to protect them. About 35 men, representing the American Legion from Post 1143 in Greenwood Lake, Post 488 in Monroe and Post 1573 Harriman stood at attention as the motorcade passed them. They then turned and marched to the funeral home to accompany Lynch to where his family awaited. “He’s one of us,” said an emotional Bob Martell, vice commander of American Legion Post 488 on Wednesday morning, who also attended the funeral with his Post colleagues. “He served to protect our county. He gave ‘the ultimate.’ We have to show our respect for him. He was a young man, only 22.” On Wednesday morning, crowds again gathered along Windermere Avenue from Church Street to Dolphin Fitness. Many waved flags in tribute to Lynch as his motorcade passed them on the way to the church, with many attending the Funeral Mass. Lynch, a member of Greenwood Lake American Legion Post 1143, joined the Marine Corps in October 2008, and was promoted to lance corporal in September 2009. He was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this past June. As part of his military service, Lynch was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Before Lynch left, he married his sweetheart Tanya Sterling in May. In media reports, his wife said she had spoken to him that prior Monday and told her that he would be going out on patrol with his information gathering sniper platoon, and would speak to her the following weekend. His Afghanistan deployment was scheduled to end in October 2012. After that, Lynch had said he wanted to get a job with the New York State police and live in the area. ‘Hometown hero to us’ This is only the second time in the village’s history that one of its native sons has died in war. Arthur Finnegan, for whom the Greenwood Lake American Legion is named after, died in conflict during World War II. Finniegan’s great nephew, Korkean Dulgerian, is also a Marine like Lynch. He’s home on leave, although scheduled to return to Afghanistan. And it was Dulgerian, better known as Corky, who drove Lynch to Camp Lejeune and spent a good portion of that 14-hour drive to North Carolina telling the young Marine recruit about the Marine way of life. Lynch’s passing left a hole not only in his family’s heart but in the Greenwood Lake community’s heart as well. “We wanted to have a coordinated effort to honor Scott,” said Moore, the Greenwood Lake mayor, who was equally emotional. “He was a real hometown hero to us. He’s a member of a great family who’s just outstanding. We support them with our heart and souls. The support that everyone is giving to the family is just tremendous.” Moore said Wednesday’s service was poignant and touching for many reasons. But one thing stood out in her mind. “Scott was known for his smiles,” she said. “When the Tuxedo High School choir sang ‘Smile (Though Your Heart is Aching), they were like the voices of angels. We support the family with our hearts and souls.” Connections in Warwick and Tuxedo Sadness was also felt in Warwick. “Our town is saddened to learn of the loss of one of our residents, Lance Cpl. Scott Lynch, who lost his life while on patrol in Afghanistan,” said Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton in a statement. “Lance Cpl. Lynch, who resided in Greenwood Lake with his wife Tanya, was by all accounts an outstanding young man who loved his family, life and his country. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and family.” Lynch’s death was also felt at George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo, where the Greenwood Lake resident graduated four years ago. “Scott was a Class of 2006 graduate,” said Tuxedo School District Superintendent Joseph Zanetti. “From all accounts, he was well-liked, friendly and remembered quite fondly by the teachers and staff. Our hearts and prayers are extended to his wife and family as we all suffer this tremendous loss.” At Baker, he was involved with the school’s Drama Club and worked as a mentor with students following his graduation. As a young boy, he was also a member of the Greenwood Lake Little League. The Lance Cpl. Scott Albert Lynch Scholarship Fund at George F. Baker High School has been established in Lynch’s memory. ‘Protecting our way of life’ Martell hoped people would make memorial contributions to any of the three places the family has requested. In addition to the high school’s scholarship fund, the other two are: the Wounded Warrior Project, which raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, helps them to assist and aid each other, and provides programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members. The third, the Fisher House Foundation Inc., donates “comfort homes” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. “He’s a kid who put a uniform on to serve his country,” said Martell. “He’s not supposed to come home like this. It’s why I always thank any service man or woman I meet. They’re protecting our way of life.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Scott Lynch remembered
Friends of Marine Lance Cpl. Scott Lynch - as well as others who simply wanted to share their thoughts - left postings on the social networking site Facebook. Here’s a sampling:
Stephen Wheat:
The great thing about Greenwood Lake is that when events of need are had we always get a great turnout!! Scott Lynch a local young Marine was killed in action in Afghanistan. People waited for two hours to honor him as his hearse was driven into town. Multiple fire departments were there and honor guards and the Knights of Nam, etc. A very somber occasion handled with the class that only small town America can do.
Lucinda Fleming:
Welcome home, Scott.
Mike Deluca: God bless Marine Lance Cpl., Scott Lynch, 22, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y. A hometown hero, who gave his life for freedom, in Afghanistan last week.