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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cohocton Awaits Return Of Fallen Hero
Cohocton Awaits Return of Fallen Hero (Tom Maloney) Reported by: Sean Carroll Email:
--- The family of Devin Snyder, 20, expects her home some time next week. The community she grew up in is making preparations and grieving her loss while trying to comfort her family.

Late Friday Cohocton Town Supervisor Jack Zigenfus told 13WHAM News that the Snyder family was just informed that the U.S. Army is posthumously promoting Specialist Snyder to the rank of Sergeant. According to the Department of Defense Snyder was assigned to the 793rd Military Police Battalion and on Saturday she was one of four soldiers killed when an insurgent attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

The 2008 Wayland-Cohocton High School grad was known for her outgoing personality, athletic excellence, and as a proud member of a military family. Snyder’s father is a U.S. Navy veteran and her brother and sister are currently enlisted.

The Snyder name is a familiar one at the Cohocton Veterans Memorial where an American flag flies at half-staff and yellow ribbon joins the U.S. Army flag. Snyder’s have served our nation in wars and peacetime dating back to the Civil War.

“The Snyder's date back in this community for generations," Zigenfus, who is also a family friend said.

This week that community has prepared for the return of their fallen hero. They’re hanging yellow ribbons everywhere, posters with Snyder’s photo and a simple message “Your Community Honors You” hang in store windows, and an American Flag flies on every home and in every lawn.

"It's the waiting, it's hard on us it's hard on the family," Cohocton Village Mayor Thomas Cox said. "It's a sad time for all of us, it's tough."

Snyder was the girl you’d see at the town park on summer days like this; she was a camp counselor for years and the local children looked up to her. Sure, folks here remember last January when it was Marine Lance Corporal Zach Smith of Hornell who was killed in the line of duty. But this time, with Devin, it just feels different.

"It's tough, Hornell was close but it doesn't happen in Cohocton,” Cox said while choking back tears. “I know everybody says that, it's not going to happen here, but it does. It does."

Cox said Smith’s parents paid the Snyder family a visit this week. Smith’s father Christopher is a New York State Trooper who intends to be among those escorting Snyder’s remains home to Cohocton next week. There are already plans for a public memorial service at the school’s sports complex. It won’t be easy for anyone but the community will go through this together.

"I think because of its close-knit ties that when something happens, especially of this magnitude, I don't think there's anything that this community wouldn't do to help one another,” Zigenfus said. “That's what we do here."


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