NY soldier remembered as humble, proud to serve - New York News

NY soldier remembered as humble, proud to serve

Posted: Updated:
Spc. Brett Gornewicz Spc. Brett Gornewicz

ALDEN, N.Y. (AP) -- A soldier killed in Afghanistan shied away from attention so much that even his family didn't know till after he died that he'd been awarded a Bronze Star for saving someone during a firefight this year, his sister told mourners who overflowed a western New York church for his funeral Monday.

As the nation observed Veterans Day, Sgt. Brett Gornewicz, 27, was described as a soldier proud to serve his country after being deeply affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.

Gornewicz, a U.S. Army reservist, was killed in a roadside bomb attack along with fellow upstate New York combat engineers Staff Sgt. Dain Venne, 29, of Port Henry and 22-year-old Spc. Ryan Jayne of Campbell while conducting route-clearing duties in Paktiya province on Nov. 3.   

Gornewicz was "a selfless person who always put others' needs in front of his," his sister, Cassandra Cranston, said inside rural St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Alden, east of Buffalo. She said he spoke little about the work he was doing in Afghanistan.

Mourners filled the pews, stood along the walls and spilled out onto the front steps.

The reservist's godmother said the death was particularly difficult because Gornewicz, who had served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, was expected to return home in two months. But she said saying goodbye on Veterans Day was special.

"The family is very blessed," Linda Jagusiak said, "to feel we have a veteran amongst us in our family."

Gornewicz, Venne and Jayne were assigned to the 444th Engineer Company, headquartered in Oswego.

Venne's funeral is Tuesday in Port Henry. Jayne's funeral will be Wednesday at his alma mater, Corning East High School.

  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Road-trip vacations that don't break the bank

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:37:29 GMT
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
    Last-minute vacations don't need to be a headache or ridiculously expensive, especially if you make it a road trip. Even if you don't have a car, renting one can be an affordable option.Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor to TheStreet.com, has some suggestions.
  • Trench collapse traps workers

    Trench collapse traps workers

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:56:22 GMT
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
    Two construction workers were rescued from a collapsed trench outside a home in Rye, N.Y. on Thursday.  Firefighters from across Westchester County responded to the scene at 15 Bradford Ave. at about noon.
  • Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Woman plunges to death over cliff in Catskills

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:42 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:42:28 GMT
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
    Authorities say a 23-year-old woman trying to take a picture by the edge of a cliff in the Catskill Mountains died after falling more than 150 feet.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices