Plaque dedication ceremony honors fallen FDNY veteran Jesse Gerhard
Dozens of people gathered at a firehouse in Far Rockaway, Queens for a plaque dedication ceremony in honor of fallen FDNY veteran Jesse Gerhard.
The 33-year-old firefighter suffered a medical episode while on duty at Ladder 134 in Queens last February. He was taken to Saint John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he later died.
Gerhard also spent time volunteering at the Islip Fire Department when he was just 20 years old, according to department commissioner Owen McCaffrey.
“He loved every minute of firefighting. It was his true calling for him. If you knew him, he was the nicest man in the world. He was a great guy and a tremendous fireman,” said McCaffrey.
Friends of Gerhard say the plaque will preserve the fireman’s memory.
“We are creating a lasting memorial for Jesse, so that everyone who visits his firehouse will know who he was, and why he matters so much,” said FDNY Ladder 134 Chief John Hodgens.
Family and friends say Gerhard is remembered for his kindness, sense of humor and carpentry skills.
“He loved to lend a hand to anyone in need. He offered every opportunity to offer help and be of service. He was a man who put others ahead of himself always,” said FDNY Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh.
“He brought such energy and passion to the job. Every day he made things better. If There was a problem, he found a solution, and always made things fun when we were off duty,” said Mike Ormiston of FDNY Ladder 134.
Gerhard’s parents, Lynn and Bruce, say they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they received from their extended FDNY family.