A Queens reader says he knows what New Yorkers do in a crisis and that’s why he — and his Facebook friends — stepped up to help the five sons of tragically killed EMT Yadira Arroyo.
Rich Russo, of Maspeth, offered to match any donation his friends made to the fund created by the Daily News.
“This is a story that really touched me when it happened,” Russo said.
All told, more than 40 of his friends came through with close to 0 in donations. Russo matched that with his own 0 contribution.
“I don’t like to ask people for money, so I made it a very easy thing to do,” he said. “All they had to do was say done and I took it that they donated.”
Russo, a creative director at an advertising agency, knew his friends would come through.
“It’s a very small gesture for a woman with a big heart,” he said. “It’s what New Yorkers do.”
Russo said his Facebook post was inspired by Arroyo’s selflessness, and her heartbreaking death.
“Here was a mother of five who was serving the people,” he said. “Even outside her job there were interviews showing she helped the homeless and others.”
Arroyo, 44, died March 16 when a deranged man trying to steal her FDNY ambulance ran her down, twice, with the lifesaving vehicle.
Jose Gonzalez, 25, a schizophrenic with a 31-arrest rap sheet, remains behind bars on a murder charge.
Arroyo was laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral attended by more than 10,000 first responders from throughout the country.
“She was a hero,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “She died as one, but most importantly, she lived as one.”
Total donations to the Arroyo fund rose to ,059 on Monday. That includes ,337 via PayPal, ,605 in checks and ,000 from the Daily News. The money will go directly to the family via the FDNY Foundation.
Donors can send payments electronically to Daily News Charities, account number 9387-575-837, routing number 021-000-322.
The charity also has a PayPal account at nydn.us/ArroyoFund.
Checks can be made payable to Daily News Charities Inc. and mailed to: New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 Attn: Daily News Charities.
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