Christian Brother Academy Graduate killed in action, remembered for a life of service

6/17/13 – Colonie, NY Adapted from a stroy written by Andrew Beam for the Troy Record

Motorcycle engines roared and lights were flashing as a motorcade pulled in front of the Christian Brothers Academy on Monday for the coming home of the body of slain soldier Lt. Col. Todd Clark.

Clark, 40, a 17-year army veteran, was killed while serving a tour in Afghanistan after an Afghan soldier, who was in the middle of training to become a police officer, allegedly shot him at the Afghan National Army Base in the Paktika province. His body was transported from the Dover Airforce Base in Delaware to the Albany International Airport on Monday morning as family, friends and local supporters awaited his arrival.

The sound of bagpipes blared as the plane landed near a hearse which transported Clark’s body from the Albany County airport to the CBA campus. The motorcade was led by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, which Assistant State Capt. and Senior Ride Captain for Region 5 Bill Schaaf said was requested by the Clark family.

“We do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Schaaf said. “It provides honor, dignity and respect for the fallen. And it brings solace and comfort to the family.”

The motorcade went from the airport, south down Albany Shaker Road to Wolf Road then north on Sand Creek Road where it ended at the Christian Brothers Academy on Airline Drive.

There was no question Clark was a hero among those attending the memorial service as friends of the family spoke of the sacrifice he made for his country. Several CBA cadets lined the street leading to the front of the school and saluted the hearse as it drove by. Retired Major David Erickson, a senior army instructor at the school, said the students were given a very important lesson at the ceremony on Monday,

“They understand what it means,” said Erickson. “Freedom isn’t free and it’s a valuable lesson.”

Clark was a graduate of the CBA 1990 class. Principal James Schlegel said the CBA community always takes care of its own as he said once the school was given notice of possibly hosting the service everyone was willing to volunteer their time.

“Today was an opportunity for our faculty, staff, students, parents and families to pay their respects to somebody who is a hero to this institution,” Schlegel said. “All we wanted was for the family to recognize a respectful welcoming.”

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