He lives in you…

March 26, 2013 Editorial Staff
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A Dyker Heights hero has a battalion of friends and family who want to keep his legacy alive.

On March 13, Firefighter Michael Behette’s loved ones stood in front of members of Community Board 10’s Traffic & Transportation Committee, testifying about renaming the corner of Fifth Avenue and 85th Street in his honor.

Behette died almost a year ago of lung cancer after having worked at Ground Zero, where it is believed he was exposed to toxins; his story has rapidly spread in his natal neighborhood and beyond.

“It’s a heartfelt expression,” said his younger sister, Marguerite, “being recognized in all his roles: as a brother, a son, an uncle, a friend, a firefighter.

“I found it very moving that people came to support this process,” she continued.

The family is doing all that it can so that the entire community is aware of Behette’s honorable actions. He was in Florida at the time of the attack on the twin towers in September, 2011; without second-guessing himself, he tried to book a flight and lend a helping hand. Unable to do so, he drove north, ending up in New York City—where he belonged. Behette worked day and night, determined to clean-up the wrecked area.

“He was always in service,” his sister added. “By now, everyone knows his story. His record speaks for itself.”

At the meeting, John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to State Senator Marty Golden, and Liam McCabe, representing Congressmember Michael Grimm, attended in support of the cause, along with Stephanie Giovinco representing Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has committed to shepherding the street naming in Behette’s memory through the City Council.

“I think for my family and me, it is a remembrance of it. [It’s] a moving experience to show others who he is, who he was for us,” said Marguerite. “He was able to be that for his friends, for his brothers.”

The committee is scheduled to vote on the naming at its next meeting; its recommendation will be delivered to the full board on April 15, at the board’s next meeting, at which time members will vote whether to recommend that the city rename the corner in Behette’s memory.

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