Legislation that would allow the Honeoye Falls Post Office, 39 West Main St., to be renamed in honor of Christian J. Koch has passed the House of Representatives.
Koch, a Livingston County native, was among three Army National Guardsmen who perished in a military helicopter training accident in the town of Mendon on Jan. 20, 2021. Honeoye Falls is a village within the town.
Congressman Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, sponsored legislation, H.R. 3508, that would rename the post office the CW4 Christian J. Koch Memorial Post Office.
“Christian leaves behind a humbling legacy of selfless service and dedication, Jacobs said in a news release. “Our nation may never be able to repay his bravery, but we are eternally grateful. God bless our fallen heroes and their families.”
Koch, who was living with his family in Honeoye Falls at the time of his death, joined the U.S. Army shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. He served as an infantryman in A Company of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry before becoming a helicopter pilot in 2006. He served for 20 years in the New York State National Guard. He earned numerous medals and awards for his service which included multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also a civilian pilot with the New York State Police.
“Christian Koch was an American hero, husband, father, and friend,” Jacobs said. “Christian spent decades in service to our country and he made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”
Jacobs’ legislation now awaits passage in the Senate.
“I am so honored that the House passed the legislation for the post office in Honeoye Falls to be named after my husband, Christian Koch. He loved this town and community and was excited to raise our children here together,” Teressa DaGama, wife of Christian Koch, said in a statement released by Jacobs’ office.
Koch, a 1999 graduate of York Central School, was born and raised in Livingston County. He also lived in Avon and Caledonia, later moving to Honeoye Falls where he resided with his wife and four children.
In 2021 a portion of Route 64 in Mendon was renamed the Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian J. Koch Memorial Highway. That effort was led by state Sen. Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, and Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, R-Caledonia, who worked together to enact legislation (S.5399/A.7031) to rename a 1.7-mile portion of the highway in Koch’s memory.
The portion of the renamed highway is close to where Koch lived with his family.
Koch died Jan. 20, 2021 when a UH-60 Blackhawk crashed into a Monroe County field during a nighttime training flight. Also killed in the crash were Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, 54, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial, 30, both of Rochester.
Col. Richard Goldenberg of the New York Army National Guard said during a July 2021 press conference that a procedural error was to blame for the helicopter crash. Goldenberg did not specifically describe what happened during the crash. He said the crew was rehearsing an “emergency procedure training maneuver” from which the helicopter could not recover.
The Army has since restricted practicing the procedure to flight simulators, he said.