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Fallen FDNY, Islip firefighter Jesse Gerhard honored with a street-naming

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The memory of an FDNY and Islip volunteer firefighter who died on duty in Far Rockaway was honored by the town Wednesday with a street named after him.

South Bay Avenue, the street where he was raised, has been symbolically renamed Firefighter Jesse Gerhard Way.

Gerhard had joined the Islip Fire Department at 20 years old and had devoted 12 years to the volunteer outfit, rising to the rank of lieutenant. In the city, where he started as an EMT in 2014 before becoming a firefighter, he was assigned to Ladder Co. 134 in Far Rockaway.

It was there that he collapsed Feb. 16 during a medical episode and later died, five hours after battling heavy flames during a 2-alarm fire at a three-story building also in Far Rockaway.

He was a seven-year veteran of the department.

Wednesday would have been his 34th birthday, officials said.

His parents, Lynn and Bruce Gerhard, brother Casey, sister-in-law Kristi, along with town officials and representatives from the city and the Islip fire departments were all on hand for the ceremony.

“Jesse followed his heart and his dreams,” said Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “His commitment to making the world a better place drove him forward, and he died doing what he loved.

“While we continue to grieve the loss of such an incredible young man, we remember the legacy he left behind, and cherish the memories that continue to keep his spirit alive.”

Top: Town of Islip courtesy photo from Wednesday’s dedication.

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