WELLSVILLE - Personnel from police departments across the area came to Wellsville on Monday to help lay a brother officer to rest, as the village said goodbye to Chief Joseph Scarabino, who died May 8 at East Liverpool City Hospital following a long illness. He was 58.
Following a service at the Roberts Funeral Home the procession of police cruisers - led by Wellsville Lt. Ed Wilson - joined the funeral cortege as it traveled to Holy Trinity Parish in East Liverpool for the funeral Mass.
The group included officers from the East Liverpool, East Palestine, Leetonia, Lisbon, Midland, Salem, Salineville, St. Clair Township and Wintersville police departments, plus the state highway patrol and even the Norfolk Southern Railway Police.
After returning to Wellsville following the Mass, the procession turned onto 17th Street and paused at Garfield Elementary School, where Scarabino often visited to read stories and talk to the children. The students were waiting outside, standing on both sides of the street, and the procession paused, giving the children a chance to say their last goodbyes.
Continuing north through the village, the procession also stopped on Main Street at 12th Street, in front of the police department at village hall.
From there, they continued to down Main onto 10th Street, pausing at the intersection of 10th and Lisbon streets, where ladder trucks from the Wellsville and Chester volunteer fire departments had their aerials extended into an archway with an enormous American flag waving in the breeze below.
The convoy passed beneath the flag up 10th Street Extension to Spring Hill Cemetery for a final service at the chapel, where a bagpiper solemnly played. Scarabino, who had made Wellsville police rifles available to the village Veterans Memorial Council for 21-gun salutes on Memorial Day, finally received his own honorary volley of shots.
The day before, the Wellsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 11 had held a memorial service at the Wellsville High School gymnasium, with attendance estimated at more than a 1,000 people.
Attendees were led in prayer and a reading of Psalm 23 by the FOP 11 president, officer Justin Wright, a former member of the Wellsville department now serving with the Liverpool Township force.
A memorial blanket from the lodge was presented to Scarabino's wife, Cynthia Scarabino, with the chief's daughter, Angelica Scarabino, receiving the plaque that had been mounted by the door to his office at the station.
Also in attendance to offer their respects were K-9 officers and their human partners from across the county. They included East Liverpool officer Chad Tatgenhorst and Ivo, East Palestine Sgt. Don Johnson and Toney, county sheriff's deputy Alan Young and Jesy, St. Clair Township officer Chris Davis and Axel, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation agent Kim Nusser and Bo, and Wellsville officer Joe Saraniti and Chief.
Finally came the last call for Scarabino, offered by Wellsville firefighter Gregg Stanley, serving as dispatcher that day. After three calls to Scarabino's Unit 20 without reply, officer Saraniti gave the ceremonial reply: "Be advised that Unit 20 is on special assignment."
"Copy and Godspeed, Unit 20," Stanley said.