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  • Rich Klein


They walk into unknown dangers most of us couldn't bare. They do so knowing that on any given day, they may not come home.

That's the harsh, searing pain so many feel right now after the tragic death last Saturday of Forestburgh Fire Company Asst. Chief William Steinberg and the murder of NYPD Officer Jason Rivera that happened Friday night.

Steinberg, just 37, died while battling a structure fire in the Town of Thompson one week ago. Rivera, a rookie cop at age 22, was shot to death when responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem. Another officer who responded was also shot and is clinging to his life. His name is Wilbert Mora, 27.

From all we've read and heard, these two young men who died cared deeply about the communities in which they lived and worked.

One of Steinberg's last posts on Facebook was the good feelings he said he felt when seeing the look on one child's face after he and the Forestburgh Fire Company delivered toys in the area to children under 12. The members of the Fire Company have also make it an annual event to deliver cookies and candy to seniors 70 and older within their fire district. (Steinberg played Santa).

Officer Rivera reportedly grew up in an immigrant family and wanted to join the NYPD to "make a difference" in a chaotic city. That was incredibly brave because he must have known violent crime was on the rise when he became an officer.

And while the families and firefighting/law enforcement brethren of both Steinberg and Rivera weep and try to process such devastating losses, we can all pay a little tribute to both by acting like the good human beings that we've heard Steinberg was in the Catskills and that Rivera was in New York City.

Finally, their loss remind us that these are the kind of heroes who are the BEST role models for the younger generation. It's a reminder that while morale and recruitment challenges impact too many fire companies and police agencies as we open 2022, maybe sharing the life stories about men like Steinberg and Rivera - and others - will inspire more young people to sign up for the bravest and finest throughout New York State.


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