In these troubling times as we try to avoid a virus that is unpredictable it’s been difficult to find normalcy in our personal and professional lives.
On January 20th, Orange County residents and particularly family and friends in Warwick, NY were shocked to learn that Warwick native Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial, 30, lost his life with 2 other National Guardsmen in a tragic helicopter crash near Mendon, NY.
Dan’s short life was all about public service. As his father Greg, a Lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department, told the Times Herald Record, the terrorist attacks on 9-11 lit a fire in his son. That passion ultimately led to him being accepted into West Point Military Academy, where he graduated from in 2012. He had a dream to fly and fulfilled that dream as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army where he was deployed to Afghanistan during 2014 and 2015 before joining the New York National Guard in 2020.
I was blessed to know Danny from as far back as his “car-seat years.” One thing is certain - he lived life to the fullest, from his passion for flying, to his patriotism for our great country, to rooting for the Mets and Jets, and to his steadfast devotion to family and friends.
In Dan’s memory, and for all those who passed before us, this is the perfect time to take inventory of our lives and ask the question: Are we doing the very best that we can for our country, and our community?
We must continue to remind ourselves that life is finite. We only have so much time to make our contributions to this world before we pass the baton to the next generation. What we leave behind becomes our legacy.
In closing, as I reflect on my feelings for Dan, I turn to a Catholic hymn and hope that his next flight is “On Eagle’s Wings.”
My very best,
President & CEO