Accident victim is identified

NASHUA – A groundskeeper killed in an accident at a country club Monday was a former forest ranger who loved the outdoors and was “seasoned” and “good at his job,” a family member and coworker said.

Police on Tuesday identified the worker as Paul Messina, 50, of Brookline.

City police concluded their investigation and determined Messina’s death to be accidental, according to Lt. George McCarthy of the Police Department’s Detective Bureau.

Messina, an employee of Sky Meadow Country Club, was killed after a tree he was cutting fell on him and crushed his chest.

Sky Meadow clubhouse manager Ed Callahan said two workers who were with Messina at the time called it a “freak accident.”

After interviewing the workers and medical staff at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, police concluded the death was an accident, McCarthy said. He declined to provide details about the accident out of respect for the victim’s family.Messina once worked as a forest ranger, and loved the outdoors, said his cousin Rick McHale.

Messina leaves a wife and young son and daughter, McHale said.

A native of Massachusetts, Messina moved to New Hampshire because “he wanted to live in the woods, and teach his kids about nature and animals,” McHale said.

Workers at Sky Meadow on Tuesday were grieving Messina’s death. He was well regarded by his coworkers and staff at the private country club, where he had worked “on and off for years,” Callahan said. They also were trying to make sense of the tragedy.

“It’s always a good guy, you know?” Callahan said.

Counselors were at Sky Meadow on Tuesday to help people cope with their grief, Callahan said. “It’s a pretty tight-knit community here,” he said.

People who knew Messina came by throughout the day to offer their condolences, Callahan said.

As he grieves, McHale cherishes memories of Messina. He described Messina as someone who looked like a “super hero.” Messina was a vegetarian and was in excellent physical condition, he said.

McHale spent a lot of time with Messina when they were young. Although they didn’t get together as much over the years – seeing one another only at family reunions – McHale remembered Messina as one of a kind.

“He’s the kind of guy who just lights up a room,” McHale said. “He just makes you feel like the most important person in the room. He’ll listen to you like he was hanging on every word, but then you ask about him, and he’s very humble about it.”