Candlelight Vigil Held for Airman Killed in Afghanistan

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    This was supposed to be New Fairfield's 9/11 remembrance ceremony. But this year, it carried the added sorrow of another American killed in the line of duty. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013)

    Hundreds turned out Sunday night to mourn a young airman from New Fairfield who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

    The vigil was held shortly before the town's annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the senior center in New Fairfield.

    This year, it carried the added sorrow of another American killed in the line of duty.

    Staff Sgt. Todd "T.J." Lobraico was killed on Thursday after his unit was attacked near the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. He was 22 years old.

    Many gathered to remember and mourn his loss.

    "I know the mother, and my heart just breaks for her. As a mother of a son in the military, it's the call you never want to receive," said New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman.

    Lobraico grew up in Sherman and was a 2008 graduate of New Fairfield High School. He was a four-year member of the Future Business Leaders of America and worked with the Rebel Press, according to Dr. Alicia Roy, the school superintendent.

    "One of the teachers, Chris Weltzer, was a veteran and remembered him from school. He said that he's one of the kindest, most compassionate students who ever walked the halls... he was a nice young man," said Roy.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Connecticut.

    "This loss reminds us of the dangers faced by our men and women stationed overseas. We should all be grateful for their service and sacrifices to our country," Malloy said in a statement.