Tunnel To Towers Announces Donation To Children Of Slain FDNY EMT As Department Announces Funeral Plans

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As they plan her funeral, the family of slain FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo received a special donation Saturday.

The veteran emergency medical technician and mother of five was killed in the line of duty this week after a man allegedly hijacked her ambulance.

Jose Gonzalez, 25, has been charged with murder in the attack.

On Saturday, firefighters and EMTs lined the street to receive Arroyo’s family outside the Bronx stationhouse where she worked. Arroyo’s eldest son, Jose Montes, offered a moving tribute to his mother.

“Seeing everybody that she affected,” Jose Montes said, “I know she didn’t die in vain.”

Meanwhile, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation offered a $100,000 donation to the children she left behind. Foundation chairman and chief executive officer Frank Siller said the goal was “to ensure they’re able to lead the lives their mother so wanted for them.”

“We need to help out in every way we possibly can to try and alleviate the financial concerns,” the foundation’s Chief Operating Officer John Hodge said.

The dim lights of EMS Station 26 matched the spirits inside. Arroyo’s mother wiped away tears while her sons – the youngest 7 years old – held each other sobbing in the front row. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro spoke directly to them.

“Your mom, Yadi; your daughter — a hero of this department, will live on,” Nigro said, “and her name through this act of courage will do good in the future.”

A growing tribute to the 14-year veteran is set up in the stationhouse. Candles and flowers sit beneath a banner that bears her face.

“My mother wouldn’t have wanted people to be sad today,” Montes said. “She would rather everyone, if you could take something from this… just let it humble you.”

Standing in front of his mother’s helmet and gear, Arroyo’s eldest son thanked the department and foundation for their support. He offered a promise to his mother.

“Me and my brothers are going to be here for each other support each other in every way,” Jose Montes said.

The foundation is accepting additional donations from the public to support Arroyo’s children and says 100 percent of the proceeds will be given to her family. For more information on how to donate, CLICK HERE.

The FDNY Foundation has also announced they’ve created a fund for Arroyo’s children. For more information on how to donate, CLICK HERE.

As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, other FDNY members also honored Arroyo’s memory Saturday, along with the NYPD, at a hockey game between the two departments.

Meanwhile, suspect Gonzalez is due back in court this Wednesday. Although no serious felonies on record, Gonzalez had 31 prior arrests and sources say he was also a member of the Bloods street gang.

Gonzalez’s father, Jose Gonzalez Sr., told CBS2’s Borg his son suffers from bipolar disorder — and that for years, he’s tried to get him help, but that the system failed him.

“I tried to get him mandated counseling by the courts, but they closed the door in my face,” Gonzalez Sr. said.

Wake services for Arroyo will be held Thursday and Friday at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home in the Bronx. Two sessions will be held each day, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Her funeral will take place at 11 a.m. next Saturday at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church in the Bronx.

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