Neighbors Open Hearts to Family of Boy, 13, Killed in Hit-Run
Bensonhurst — Parishioners silently walked up to the altar of Saint Finbar Catholic Church at the end of the 5:30 p.m. mass on Saturday and placed $1, $5, and $10 bills in a basket placed on the top step by their pastor, the Rev. Michael Louis Gelfant.
Fr. Gelfant had asked church members to donate to a fund to help the family of Henry Steven Garcia, the 13-year-old boy killed by a hit-run driver on a Bensonhurst street a week earlier.
Immigrants from Guatemala, the grieving family did not have the money to pay for the child’s funeral expenses, Fr. Gelfant told parishioners at the church at 138 Bay 20th St. “Whatever you can give will help,” he said.
The funeral for Henry took place at St. Finbar Church on April 19. The boy’s remains were flown to his family’s native country for burial, the pastor said. Henry himself was a U.S. citizen, Fr. Gelfant said.
As this newspaper went to press, police at the 62nd Precinct were still searching for the driver who struck Henry and fled the scene. The victim was riding his bicycle on 20th Avenue near 80th Street at around 2:42 p.m. on April 14 when he was struck by a motorist driving a green SUV believed to be a Ford Explorer, police said.
The motorist drove away from the scene, police said. Police did not give a description of the driver.
The victim was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.
Henry was an eighth grade student at Seth Low Intermediate School on Ave. P. He was scheduled to graduate in June and planned to start attending James Madison High School, in the fall.
The Garcia family members attend St. Finbar Church, according to Fr. Gelfant, who said the boy’s relatives “are overwhelmed by the amount of love and support they’ve received from this community.”
The Bensonhurst community showed its emotional support for the Garcia family in other ways. At the Community Board 11 meeting on April 18, Chairman Bill Guarinello requested a moment of silence in Henry’s memory.
— Paula Katinas
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