Medford street named after slain veterans advocate
A veterans advocate killed by an alleged intoxicated driver in September was honored Friday with a street named after him in Medford.
Friends and family of Christopher White gathered at the corner of Old Medford and Peconic avenues in the Town of Brookhaven, near the house where White lived, as the town added an honorary street sign -- "Chris White Way" -- at the crossing.
White, 44, was part of a motorcycle group that escorted World War II veterans to Long Island MacArthur Airport on Sept. 28 for their trip to Washington, D.C.
After the event, as White was leaving the airport at 7:15 a.m., he was struck by a van that ran a red light, police said. He died at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.
"Chris was the kindest soul I've ever met, and now we know he'll never be forgotten," said White's friend Jerilynn Kiss, 44, of Selden. "He was a remarkable, selfless man."
White, who grew up in Medford and graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School, was involved with Boots on the Ground NY, a Bellport-based veterans organization. He dedicated many hours to helping veterans in need, no matter their age, friends said.
White and his wife, Dottie, were raising three young boys, Kiss said. Family members said Friday they were still too distraught to talk.
"He was really a kind of saint," said Steve Mullins of Medford, who lived a block away from White. "I'm proud to live on Peconic Avenue because Peconic Avenue now also has the name of my friend."
White worked as a field service manager for Petro, a heating and air conditioning company.
"He gave much to the community, and we wanted to make sure he was remembered," said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, who attended the event.
Police said the van that hit White was driven by Paul Porrini, 55, of Selden, who is awaiting trial on charges that include vehicular manslaughter and driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol. He is due back in court on Dec. 11.
Porrini was driving west on Veterans Memorial Highway when he ran the light at the Johnson Avenue intersection and struck White's motorcycle and three other vehicles, police said.
Four people in the other vehicles were injured in the crash, police said. They were taken to hospitals, treated and released.
"The driver of the van that struck my friend took a very special person away from us," Mullins said. "Every day I drive down my street, I'm going to think of Chris."