In our sorrow, the people of Pittsburgh have shown us love

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To the people of Pittsburgh (the police departments, fire departments, ambulance companies, local civic groups, the Patriot Guard, Shenango coke plant, veterans and the local community), I wish I could address each of you individually to express my gratitude and respect for the outpouring of love and effort you put forth to show honor to my husband, Sean Ruane, the day he was laid to rest, Jan. 25.

The loss of Sean has been the most unimaginable and devastating experience of my life, a wound that will never heal completely, but his legacy was upheld so beautifully by your community. Sean was a man of great selflessness and he was full of love for others.

In turn, the selflessness of your efforts, on a bitterly cold, snowy day, has left an impression in the hearts of countless people across the world. I can attest to this firsthand, because I write this letter to you from the countryside of England, and even here people are aware of the procession that occurred in Pittsburgh. Thank you for being such a rock for us all on that day, for proving that true love exists, thrives, and for touching the hearts and souls of complete strangers.

A good friend of mine recently commented that with these most tragic events, “Sean has restored my faith in humanity,” and I believe Pittsburgh has done this as well. We are all changed people, myself included, after witnessing the crowds of people who came forth to pay respects to our fallen hero.

God will provide in our times of need and for this we must continue on.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

“He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

“It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

“It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

— Jeremiah 17: 7-8

Please know that I will never forget your kindness, and one day I will tell of it to our son, Liam.

Fordham, England

The writer’s husband, Air Force Capt. Sean M. Ruane, 31, a Montour High School graduate, died Jan. 7 in a helicopter crash during a training exercise in eastern England.

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