A brave EMS’ legacy has now become memorialized.
Yadira Arroyo’s name is now carried on Boston Road by 169th Street in Morrisania, right next to Station 26 where she worked.
A ceremony was held on Friday, June 15 at Station 26 to commemorate Arroyo’s life. Many elected officials attended, including Mayor de Blasio.
The 14-year FDNY veteran was brutally murdered on March 16, 2017 when Jose Gonzalez attempted to highjack the ambulance she was working out of near White Plains Road and Watson Avenue.
Gonzalez ended up killing the public servant during the struggle.
This April her alleged killer was found unfit to stand trial.
However, events that show how Yadira truly blessed the Bronx community are touching to her family.
“Today, by placing a plaque in her honor and co-naming a street after her what better place to rejoice when we see her name. She is immortalized right here,” said Arroyo’s aunt, Alido Acevedo-Hernandez.
The impact she left on her EMS community will be fondly remembered.
At the time of her passing Captain Joseph Jefferson of Station 26 said “this is a woman, a mother of five, who dedicated her life in serving the community. Knowing Yadira was out there gave us peace and understanding that the right thing was going to be done every single time.”
“The care and compassion she displayed every time she touched a patient, was like they were her family. She cannot be replaced,” Jefferson added.
Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the dedication that Arroyo gave those in need.
“Today, we honor a guardian angel, when people were scared and in pain, Yadira was there,” said the mayor. “She understood, service is the highest calling and the spirit of service was the force animating everything she did.”
The mayor also said how the FDNY epitomizes the virtue of family and that the entire city sill grieves with the loss that Station 26 endured.
This isn’t the first memorial dedicated to Arroyo, though.
She is now the centerpiece of a massive Soundview mural that highlights the best of Bronx culture on Morrison and Westchester avenues. Arroyo’s portrait had been placed next to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Last March, a vigil was also held in Soundview on the one-year anniversary of her passing which many attended.
“Yari not only worked in this neighborhood, she lived not far from here,” Nigro said. “She had seen the residents here every day coming and going from calls, and many times she responded to care for those same people. The store owners here on Boston Road knew her, the children who walked by here every day saw a role model in Yari — someone they could aspire to be like when they grew up,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.
In response to what happened to Arroyo, the FDNY has added signs on its ambulances warning the public that there are legal ramifications for assaulting an EMS worker.
“These new images on our ambulances are visible reminders to all that FDNY EMTs and paramedics perform dangerous, life-saving work every single day; and anyone who interferes with that work by assaulting our members faces a severe punishment,” Nigro said.