Thousands gather to pay respects as New York State Trooper Nicholas Clark is laid to rest
ALFRED, N.Y. (WHAM) - It was a day no one inside the Alfred University arena wanted to live through.
However, those closest to slain New York State Police Trooper Nicholas Clark say the goodbye he received Sunday was proof of a life well-lived, despite being cut short.
Trooper Clark died nearly a week ago after being shot responding to a call in the Town of Erwin.
His funeral was held Sunday at his Alma Mater, Alfred University. Thousands of family, friends, and law enforcement officers gathered to pay their final respects.
“A wonderful human-being who touched so many lives in the short time he was with us,” said Reverend Donald Maynard, who’s known Clark and his family for more than 20 years.
New York State Police Superintendent George Beach II was among those offering sympathies to Clark’s family, while praising the person and trooper he was.
Words like "humble," "kind," and "dependable" echoing through the arena when describing him.
“His life was taken because he did what we asked him to do,” said Beach. “He went into harm’s way to protect the innocent, and despite the great risk that he faced he performed his duty to help others. That is a true hero.”
Law enforcement from around the state and country were gathered among the hundreds of New York State Police Troopers in attendance. Many there didn’t know Clark, but came anyway out of respect.
“The calls, not knowing what’s on the other side of a call- When the worst happens in our profession, we’re here,” said Major Maurice Tomlinson of the Pennsylvania State Police. “We have to be here.”
Meanwhile, Clark’s friends are among those still grieving and dealing with his loss.
Chad Pieri is a friend and former football teammate of Clark’s. The two played at Alfred University, and both were linebackers.
Pieri says the last week has been full of different emotions, saying the loss has felt like a nightmare he hasn’t been able to wake up from.
But Pieri found some comfort in the outpouring of support at Clark’s funeral.
“That whole service was amazing and gives the whole reality of how many people cherished Nick and how respected he was in the community and the area,” said Pieri, who often uses the word ‘legend’ to describe Clark.
Clark is from Troupsburg, New York. He spent about three years with State Police, being stationed around the state before returning home to the Southern Tier.