TURBOTVILLE — In the library of Warrior Run High School is a memorial wall for soldiers and others in the military who were killed in the line of duty.
While it is only days after the death of deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill, a 1990 graduate of the school district halfway between the boroughs of Turbotville and Watsontown, he soon could join that list of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, according to district Superintendent Alan Hack.
Hill, who succumbed to injuries after being shot while serving a fugitive arrest warrant in Harrisburg on Thursday morning, was remembered as a real warrior, a defender of freedom, who went on to serve in the army and was deployed to Afghanistan from 1993 to 1996.
As a boy, he played for his high school “Defenders” football team, but later in life, Hill became a defender of American freedoms, according to friends.
Defender to the end
“This young man was amazing and so connected with our West Branch Valley and Warrior Run School District,” said William F. Kear, a retired district judge.
Kear, who spent a lifetime studying military men of valor and battles, including those of the Civil War, described the 45-year-old Hill as the “real deal,” a veteran, law enforcement officer, husband, father, brother and friend to so many.
He was “a true warrior of the highest level, working to keep us safe and to support his family,” Kear said.
In a society in which it seems law enforcement officers are under attack more frequently than ever, Kear said Hill’s chosen career path should not go unnoticed nor fade into a distant memory. “Do not ever forget him or his sacrifice for all of us.”
At the school, Hack said handling the tragic news was not easy. Many calls were taken from friends and family.
“Any individuals who worked with him or coached him have long since retired,” he said. “Typically, when any alum passes away, the district will work with families or classmates who might want to perhaps do a tribute.”
Hack said he was not certain if a special service might be in order or if the tribute on the wall would suffice. It also was too soon, on Friday, to discuss any type of funeral arrangements.
Hill served for 11 years in the U.S. Marshals Service, according to U.S. Marshal Martin Pane.
“Deputy Marshal Hill died as a hero,” said U.S. Attorney David Freed.
Throughout the day, many people in the upper Northumberland County area were posting messages on Facebook in remembrance. Bill Klinger posted a U.S. Marshals Service badge on his home site in honor of his friend.
Hill’s cousin, Stacey Hill Parker, told a reporter with WNEP-TV that Hill was “upbeat,” a “great example,” and would be “missed but not forgotten.”