Fallen soldier is laid to rest

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    CHESTER-Chester native First Lt. Louis Allen was laid to rest in the Orange County Veterans' Cemetery in Goshen on Thursday, June 16. Several hundred family members, friends and Orange County veterans attended the military ceremony. The graveside service followed a funeral service at St. Joseph's Church in Middletown. Allen leaves a widow and four children. He was a science teacher at George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo and was living in Milford, Pa. Allen and Capt. Phillip T. Esposito were killed in Iraq on June 7. A sergeant in their 42nd Infantry Division has been charged with their deaths. The service at the veterans' cemetery included a firing squad and an overflight of helicopters. The funeral cortege was led by a group of motorcyclists belonging to Rolling Thunder, an organization that supports veterans. Members of veterans organizations from across Orange County also attended. There's a tradition of mutual support among veterans, said Bob Ibe, the president of the Orange County Veterans' Coalition, the umbrella organization for veterans' groups in the county. Francesco Accetta, a guidance counselor at Baker High School who recently retired from the Army, was at the funeral as a friend, a coworker, and a veteran. He said Allen was a popular and respected teacher. As many as 300 of Allen's students attended the church ceremony in Middletown, he said. Students plan to wear the rainbow patch of the 42nd Infantry Division at graduation to show their respect for Allen, he added. Rolling Thunder Chapter 3 past-president Kenny Zipp said the group attends the funerals of veterans when requested by the family. The group, which formed in 1988 to pressure the government to do more to find and return the remains of missing veterans, now performs a number of services for veterans. Joe McLaughlin of Warwick was another veteran at the ceremony. He said he has recently attended several funerals of veterans. "This is my second funeral in the past several weeks," he said. "It seems like such a waste — these guys are dying for people who hate us." The Allen family has created a Web site, www.louisallenfund.com, where viewers can read tributes, see pictures of Allen with family and friends and find information on making a donation to the Louis Allen Memorial Fund. Those wishing to make a donation should send checks payable to the Louis Allen Memorial Fund and send them to The Berkshire Bank, P.O. Bank 469, Goshen, N.Y. 10924, c/o Rolly Peacock.