NEW YORK — Thousands lined the streets Friday in Belle Harbor, Queens, for. The grief was evident in the tight-knit community, which is no stranger to mourning.
Belle Harbor is located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, part of New York City but far removed in terms of how it exists as a community.
“You speak to people who are from here, and they grew up here, their children are growing up here, their grandchildren are growing up here because of the camaraderie and love that exists in this community,” resident Barbara Joseph said.
“This is a very strong community. A lot of faith. People out here support each other,” resident James Bunyan said.
Many of the nearly 9,000 residents are first responders whose way of life is about giving back and stepping in to support one another through their darkest days.
“I’m a family of civil service workers and so is the whole community, so we feel like my kids and everybody needs to come out and pay their respects,” resident Joe Keenan said.
“We have a largest concentration of firemen that live here. It really hits the heart very hard,” resident John McCabe said.
Friday, at the St. Francis de Sales Church, the sea of firefighters at attention in their class A dress uniforms were joined by friends and neighbors, all united in mourning.
“We truly are a community where we support and love one another, and when someone feels tragedy, we all feel tragedy,” Joseph said.
Red ribbons are placed throughout the community as a symbol of remembrance for fallen firefighter Timothy Klein.
“I started with 300 bows, and we ended up with about 4,000. It’s all in honor of firefighter Klein,” one resident said.
Local florists contributed to this show of support.
“I’m glad I was able to do it, and I’m glad I’m from a community like this,” one resident said.
It is a place that cherishes the value of neighbors and neighborhood, and has seen its share of tragedy.
“It’s been rough down here. You had 9/11, then you had the plane crash, then you had Sandy, and this community just gets stronger and stronger every time” Keenan said.
But as this community mourns the tragic loss of one of its own, Belle Harbor is again brought closer not only by the bonds of pain, but also in the strength they find in one another.
“We want to give back all the service and the love that we’ve been given through these tragedies, and Tim is a phenomenal example of that,” resident Kirsten McCabe said.
It seemed that whether people who spoke to CBS2 knew Klein or not, everyone was aware of his huge, positive impact on the community.