National News

Loggers pay tribute to fallen comrade with touching procession

Posted August 9

— A poignant tribute to a fallen logger headed out from Litchfield on Wednesday.

Shawn Varley, 33, of Harwinton, was killed after being struck by a tree limb last week.

Varley died while working in a wooded area near Bloomfield Avenue in Windsor. Police said he was hit in the head by a branch.

Wednesday morning, more than a dozen trucks from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York led a funeral procession down Route 202 through Litchfield to Washington Depot.

"The logging community is a huge brotherhood, and, yes, we all compete for the same thing, the same product, but in the end we're all here together," said Stephanie Gillotti, a friend.

Varley's own skidder led the procession.

Several of his friends gathered to pay their respects.

They honked their horns in honor of a man they said was loved by many.

Gillotti called Varley a talented man who taught himself to play the banjo.

She organized Wednesday's procession.

"I did not have one person tell me 'no,'" Gillotti said. "Everybody said 'we will be there. We will have a driver there. We will have two or three trucks there.' So, everybody has been so overwhelming. The outpouring has been magnificent."

He was a man who literally logged miles doing what he loved.

"He was just one hell of a guy," Gillotti said. "Those are the words that sum it up. He just was so kind, so outgoing and he would help anybody do anything."

Police said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

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