PAINTED POST - Area firefighters, friends and family members recently filled the Tri County First Responders Honor Park to honor and celebrate the life of longtime Lindley Presho Volunteer Fire Department Chief Terry Lee Hill.
Hill, 65, of Church Creek Road, Lindley, was tragedy killed Oct. 14, 2018, in a traffic accident on State Route 415, when a station wagon traveled into the path of his motorcycle.
His daughter, Brittany Hill, and nephew, Dylan Hill, placed an honor brick at the park during the event, acknowledging Terry Lee Hill’s life and what it meant to so many people.
“October 14, 2018, was the worst day of my life,” said Brittany Hill, a volunteer Lindley firefighter. “I lost my best friend, my hero, my number one supporter and my fire chief.”
Brenda D. Hill, the widow of Terry Hill, said their daughter volunteered at the fire department so she could be closer to her dad, learn from him and serve her community.
“Losing Terry is a catastrophic loss to myself, to my daughter and to his family,” Brenda D. Hil said. “Every day hurts.”
Terry Hill joined the Lindley Presho Volunteer Fire Department in 1968 at the age of 15 and served ever since.
“Terry’s been with the department for the past 50 years and held every office,” said Scott Drake, a cousin of Hill’s and a former member of the fire department. “He was our leader who took everyone under his wings. He was a great man that will be missed by everyone. He was definitely the mainstay of the fire department.”
Brenda D. Hill said Terry made it a priority to be involved with the fire department.
“He was very active in the fire department attending meetings, training, and fire calls,” she said. “I recall several times we would be on our way somewhere and Terry would turn around to go to the fire. He truly cared.”
For the past 50 years, at 7 p.m. every Monday Terry Hill went to the Lindley Fire Department Hall for training and business meetings.
“He never missed a meeting,” said Brenda D. Hill. “When I was organizing Terry's desk I found several certificates and awards. In our basement, I found several older certificates and awards in boxes. He didn't do any of this for the recognition.”
Family members and firefighters are not the only people who will miss Terry Hill. Nearly 80 Victim Impact Statements were provided to the Steuben County Court prior to the trial of Robert W. Neally, 42, of Campbell.
Neally, the man driving the station wagon on State Route 415, pleaded guilty in late-May to second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, and was sentenced to five-to-fifteen years in state prison.
Steuben County Court Judge Chauncey Watches, who sentenced Neally, reviewed the almost 80 letters representing the views of at least 94 individuals, said “the loss felt by each person on their own behalf and on behalf of others is a common thread in all these statements.”