Local mother remembers son, a fallen officer

Local News

Charlotte Carrabatta remembers her son, Samuel Hicks, as an academic scholar, an athlete and a loving father.

“When I think of Samuel, I do smile because he led a very full life and those are the great memories that are in my mind,” Carrabotta said.

Friday, eight fallen law enforcement officers with ties to Somerset County — who were killed in the line of duty — were honored during a ceremony.

The Police Chiefs Association of Somerset County dedicated a plaque to the fallen, engraved with their names. 

The honorees include: 

  • Deputy Constable John J. Lenhart, PA State Constable; End of Watch: September, 18, 1898
  • Trooper Stephen R. Gyurke, PA State Police; End of Watch: August 24, 1958
  • Police Officer George R. Banfield, Conemaugh Township Police Department; End of Watch: May 12, 1984
  • Trooper Joseph James Sepp, Jr., PS State Police; End of Watch: November 10, 2002
  • Police Chief Sheridan O. Caton, Elk Lick Township Police Department; End of Watch: July 11, 2004
  • Special Agent Samuel Steele Hicks, FBI; End of Watch: November 19, 2008
  • Police Officer Lloyd Earl Reed, Jr., St. Clair Township Police Department; End of Watch: November 28, 2015
  • Sgt. Mark Baserman, PA Dept. of Corrections; End of Watch: February 26, 2018

“Looking into the faces of family members who were here, You could see the sorrow, the sadness. But you could also see the pride and dedication,” said Indian Lake Police Chief Jerry Bellak, and the president of the county’s chiefs of police association.

Carrabotta, a Rockwood resident, attended the ceremony. Her son was an FBI Special Agent who was killed on November 19, 2008 while serving a federal drug warrant.

“They’re fallen heroes, but they’re always in our hearts,” Carrabotta said.

It’s been almost ten years since Hicks’ death and Carrabotta said ceremonies like these are still emotional. Although she misses her son everyday, she knows he wouldn’t want her to let that grief control her life.

“I think it’s important we remember that: not just the sadness of them passing, but that we remember their lives and what joy they brought. And that they did their job. They chose that. That, to me, is a calling. And I think they all did it well,” Carrabotta said.

The plaque will be placed somewhere in the Somerset County Courthouse so that the officers’ families, friends or anyone else can pay their respects.

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