Funeral for Virginia trooper, “silent giant,” killed in helicopter crash

WASHINGTON — “This is a sad day for the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe during Saturday’s funeral for the second Virginia State Police Trooper who died in a helicopter crash during the protests in Charlottesville last weekend.

The Saturday service for 48-year-old Lt. Pilot H. Jay Cullen with the Virginia State Police was held at the Southside Church of the Nazarene in Chesterfield, Virginia.

McAuliffe said that as governor, presiding over a funeral for a state police officer is “by far the most difficult task.”

He said Friday’s funeral for State Trooper Berke Bates and Cullen’s funeral are hard on the McAuliffe family too.

”These were state police officers who we were very close to with, our family,” said McAuliffe. Dorothy and I are heartbroken.”

For the last three years, Cullen was the pilot for the governor and his family.

McAuliffe said that the 23-year veteran of the force was a quiet man who was always ready to talk about his wife and two sons.

“He was the most serious safety-conscience pilot I have ever had.”

The next time he has to step into a helicopter, the governor said it won’t be the same and he’ll think of Cullen.

“And I’ll think what a silent giant he was. He was the best of the best of the Virginia State Police.”

Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said that Cullen was always about his wife and two sons. Despite all of his accomplishments, Flaherty said of Cullen, his two boys were the world to him.

“You, he would always say, were his proudest achievements,” Flaherty said at the funeral while looking at Cullen’s two sons.

Flaherty thanked Cullen’s wife Karen and his two sons, Max and Ryan “for sharing Jay with us.”

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