A little piece of Bay Ridge proposed to be named after a hero

October 10, 2012 Editorial Staff
Share this:

Local politicians are throwing their support behind an effort to name the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 85th Street after late Firefighter Michael Behette, who lost his life last month after a year-long battle with lung cancer, which family and friends believe he acquired from direct exposure to toxins at Ground Zero in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Congressmember Michael Grimm and State Senator Marty Golden sent a letter to Joanne Seminara, the chairperson of Community Board 10, on October 3 with their request.

If approved, “Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way,” would remind drivers and passers-by that Behette dedicated his life to the well-being of others, the two contend.

Subscribe to our newsletters

“He’s a hero that should never, ever be forgotten,” Grimm said. “His heroism is an example for generations to come.”

With respect to the sign on the street, he added, “Kids will say, ‘Mom, Dad, what is this street?’ and they will explain and his legacy will live on.”

Golden concurred. “Here’s a guy on a cruise,” he noted. “The buildings go down. He leaves the ship, leaves his clothes to go to the airport. He finds out there are no planes and he rents a car. He gets a speeding summons in Georgia, and he gets there to help his colleagues dig. You couldn’t find a more devoted, compassionate individual.”

In their letter to Seminara, Grimm and Golden noted, “Under the proposal, Michael Behette’s name will continue to serve this community as a tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our City and Nation, and as a reminder of our common values.”

The street naming in Behette’s honor is something the family would like to see. Tony Behette, Michael’s younger brother, told this paper, “Michael would be really honored,” adding that he “truly believes Michael is a victim of 9/11.”

Behette continued, “Given what happened, for him to dig and be involved in the search and rescue, and then in the recovery, he kind of deserves it. God Bless him.”

Community Board 10 will consider the request and make a recommendation on it. Should the board approve it, it would go to the City Council for review and a vote, and finally to the mayor who signs into law all street namings.

“Councilman Gentile fully supports renaming a street in honor of Firefighter Michael Behette and looks forward to introducing legislation in the City Council to make it happen,” said Justin Brannan, a spokesperson for Gentile.

Additional reporting by Helen Klein

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment