Skaneateles is in mourning this week as residents from the community along with neighboring community Auburn come to grips with the death of PFC Patrick A Devoe II.
Devoe, a graduate of Port Byron High School, was killed in action Sunday March 8 in Kanadau Kalay, Afghanistan.
Devoe grew up in Auburn and attended school in Skaneateles until middle school. His siblings have also attended and are currently attending school in Skaneateles.
"I remember him as a friendly, talkative young man, who was open to sharing his ideas about the many different topics that I explore with kids in class. He stood out to me with his openness," said Deb Ambrose of Skaneateles Middle School.
Middle school teacher Janet Fagal said she remembers Devoe as a very nice boy who was full of happiness and goodwill.
"He loved the outdoors and I have poetry he wrote about his adventures in the woods," Fagal said of the boy she remembers from her fifth grade class.
In honor of Devoe's brave service to the United States, Gov. David A. Paterson has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-mast Thursday March 12.
Devoe was a member of the 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Combat Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Richardson, Alaska. He died when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device.
"It is with deep regret that we acknowledge the death of Private First Class Patrick Devoe. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and fellow soldiers," Paterson said in a statement. "PFC Devoe's service and sacrifice to the United States of America will be honored and valued forever."
Paterson has directed the flags on all State buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor and tribute to our state's service members who are killed in action. Dedication for Devoe's service will begin Thursday at the beginning of the business day and return to full staff at sunset.
"His smile used to brighten our room a lot," Fagal said. "I am saddened and deeply moved to know that one of my students is now in that group of brave Americans who gave 'the full measure of devotion' -- life -- for their country and I will remember him always."