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Funeral service for New York State Trooper Joseph Gallagher held Wednesday

"Joe was a soldier"
Posted at 4:48 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 09:06:04-04

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WKBW) — A New York State Trooper who was hit by a vehicle while on duty more than three years ago is being laid to rest Wednesday.

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NYS Troopers gathered outside OLV Wednesday morning to pay final tribute to Trooper Gallagher.

The funeral service for Trooper Joseph Gallagher was held at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Victory National Shrine & Basilica. State Police are also holding a visitation for him on Long Island Wednesday, a day after family and friends bid him farewell in Orchard Park.

Trooper Gallagher patrolled interstate 95. He was hit by a distracted driver while he was assisting another driver whose car had broken down on the Long Island Expressway in December of 2017. The 23-year-old driver was distracted by three texting conversations. Trooper Gallagher died on March 26 of this year.

NYS Troopers serve carrying the casket of Trooper Gallagher from OLV.

Gallagher suffered a severe brain injury and lost his ability to speak and walk.

“Trooper Gallagher went into harms to protect someone and I think sometimes that story has been lost in the last year in the public discourse,” explained Kevin Bruen, State Police Acting Superintendent.

A moving tribute to say farewell to trooper Gallagher held Wednesday.

The Buffalo native brought home from Long Island where he lived and worked.

Bagpipers led the funeral procession down south park avenue to OLV where trooper Gallagher’s body arrived.

Dozens and dozens of state troopers and other members of law enforcement lined up to honor Trooper Gallagher, who was just 38 years old. Troopers removing his flag draped casket.

Bells at OLV rang out as the procession moved into the church for his funeral.

Bagpipers marched to OLV in honor of the fallen NYS Trooper.

“Joe was a soldier. He was a trooper — he was a soldier — he was a family man and he will be sorely missed,” reflected Trooper George Mohl, Trooper Command, Troop L.

“Trooper Gallagher went into harms to protect someone and I think sometimes that story has been lost in the last year in the public discourse,” explained Kevin Bruen, State Police Acting Superintendent.

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Trooper Joseph Gallagher's flag draped casket.

The driver pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and was sentenced to 30-days in jail.

7 Eyewitness News asked Bruen if justice was served.

“The only thing I can say about that is re-emphasize that distracted driving failing to move over and driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance— whether it is alcohol or something else — is extremely dangerous,” Bruen responded.

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NYS Troopers form an honor guard outside OLV.

"Joe was one of those guys that was loved by everyone — he was a team player — everyday he come in — he had the motivation to get the other guys riled up head out into the field,” described Trooper Mohl.

Trooper Gallagher joined the troopers in 2014. He grew up in Buffalo and is a graduate of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School.

Family members emerge from OLV into procession.

Trooper Gallagher is survived by his wife, two children, parents, a sister and two of his brother's is a priest, Rev. Martin Gallagher, who presided over the funeral Mass.

Following the Mass, hundreds of state troopers emerged and lined up in front of the church for a very moving moment filled with military honors that included taps, a helicopter fly over, folding of the flag and a final radio call to commemorate Trooper Gallagher's service.

He passed away 10 years to the day after state police suffered a similar loss when Trooper Kevin Dobson was hit and killed conducting a traffic stop on the 290 in the Town of Tonawanda.

Trooper Gallagher was the cousin of Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottile Gallagher. She has established a gofundme fundraiser in his memory.

The funding page says “the funds collected here will be given to two causes near and dear to Joe and his wife Laura.

"Half of the funds collected will be given to the Signal 30 Benefit Fund. The Signal 30 Benefit Fund supports the members of the New York State Police and their families in extraordinary circumstances such as death, illness, injury and loss. Signal 30 also provides an extensive scholarship program to benefit the children of Troopers.

The other half collected will be donated to the Save the Sullivans campaign ( The ships are in severe disrepair, and are being assisted with a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising the $1,000,000 dollars needed to permanently repair them. Joe’s love of the naval park, and the preservation of these ships, will be a lasting tribute to his memory."