Outside of Halfmoon Town Hall, the American flag waved at half mast, just feet away from where Taylor Parker anonymously stood two short weeks earlier at a 9/11 ceremony. Inside, a teary-eyed Mindy Wormuth, Halfmoon supervisor, reflected on a life that was far too short.
Parker, 26, died on Sunday, Sept. 23, at Albany Medical Center from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle accident on Cohoes-Crescent Road in Colonie at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Parker was a sergeant in the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry and had recently returned home to Halfmoon after serving in Iraq. His mother, Regina, is on the Halfmoon town board.
It's a tragic time for the Parker family and the town of Halfmoon, Wormuth said Tuesday, Sept. 25. "To see him go on into the Army and serve and come back from Iraq certainly made us proud. He was our hometown hero. To lose him at such a young age was just tragic."
Parker didn't wish to be honored or recognized at the town's 9/11 commemoration ceremony earlier this month. He served one tour of duty in Iraq and three tours of duty at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.
"He was a very private young man," she said. "He would give of himself to anybody, but never wanted to be recognized for it."
Sgt. Robert Donnelly, who is the investigating officer with the Colonie police, said that the 2004 Ford Escape SUV Parker was driving went onto the shoulder of the westbound lane, at which time Parker, who was the only person in the car, overcorrected and crashed into the eastbound guard rail.
The SUV traveled along the guard rail, and at some point, Parker was ejected from the vehicle. He was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.