As State Trooper Kevin Miller’s neighbor, Welintukonis knows how much Miller meant to his community.
On Friday Welintukonis and his friend, Matthew Corey, hung flags over the crash site on I-84 where Miller died Thursday so no one will forget.
“Just real down to earth, real, quiet nature you know, good-hearted person,” Welintukonis said. “This is just tragic.”
“This is the thin blue line,” Corey said. “It’s just a bond that law-enforcement has.”
That bond is something Corey's brother, who is also a state trooper and previously served with Miller, knows well.
“Every day you think about or take for granted that one of your loved ones is out there protecting the community,” Corey said. “And one day they might not come home.”
Welintukonis sent Miller a text message after hearing about a State Trooper who died in an accident on I-84 in Tolland Thursday. But he never received a response.
He would soon learn it was Miller who was killed when his police cruiser collided into the back of a tractor-trailer.
Across town, flags flew at half-staff Friday and black bunting hung outside of the State Police Troop C headquarters in Tolland where Miller was assigned.
Flowers and a replica of Miller’s badge was also placed outside of the facility during a memorial organized by George Laws and members of the group Tolland cares.
“It should open everybody’s eyes to what they go through,” Laws said. “I mean the sacrifices they make, the sacrifices their families make.”
“What they go through and the dangers that they face,” Welintukonis said. “You know every hour of every day. You know for little pay and benefits.”
It’s a sacrifice people like Miller and Welintukonis make even when they know they have a lot to lose.
“Kevin is leaving behind two kids,” Welintukonis said. “He’s one of the best people that I knew. You know I could call them up anytime.”