Today, Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R,C-Brooklyn/S.I.) and State Senator Marty Golden (R,C,I - Brooklyn) sent a letter to Community Board 10 Chairwoman Joanne Seminara in support of naming the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 85th Street "Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way." Michael Behette was a Dyker Heights resident and firefighter who died last month from a 9/11-related cancer. His family has requested the street naming in his honor, and Rep. Grimm and Senator Golden are lending their full support.
"Michael Behette was a true American hero who bravely rushed into a dust cloud of danger when others ran away," said Rep. Grimm. "His selfless love for our city, for others, and for his profession as NYC fire fighter ultimately cost him his life, and that should never be forgotten. It is with great privilege that I join Senator Golden in support of naming this memorial after our hometown hero, Michael Behette, so that we will never forget his inspiring story or the sacrifices he made on our behalf," said Rep. Grimm.
"Firefighter Michael Behette was an example to us all. His dedication to the recovery efforts is a reminder of the service and sacrifice of our bravest to help move our city forward after we were attacked. Michael gave everything for his city, state, and nation, and today I join with Congressman Grimm in calling for our city to remember and honor his ultimate sacrifice by this memorial on 85th Street. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family, and I call on all to remember that while all gave some in those days and months, some, like Michael, gave all," said Senator Golden.
Michael Behette was assigned to Ladder 172 in Bensonhurst. When the towers were hit, Behette was on vacation in Florida. Unable to get a flight home, he drove straight to Ground Zero where he worked for the next 31 days in rescue and recovery operations. He stayed on site for six more months. He was diagnosed in 2011 and passed on September 17th, 2012 from lung cancer, which is believed to have been caused from exposure to the toxins at the WTC site.
Rep. Grimm and his staff have met with members of the Behette family who brought the matter to their attention, as well as helped the family obtain the application for the street naming. Rep. Grimm and Senator Golden have written the attached letter of support to be submitted today with the family's application.
Please find a copy of the letter below and attached:
October 3, 2012
Dear Chairwoman Seminara,
We are writing in support of the proposed name for public area, "Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way," for the northeast corner of 5th Avenue and 85th Street, submitted by Madeleine Behette. Michael Behette was a selfless family and community member, a faithful public servant, and an American hero.
Under the proposal, Michael Behette's name will continue to serve this community as a tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our City and Nation, and as a reminder of our common values. We understand that the guidelines for naming public areas specify that the honoree must be deceased for not less than two years at the time of application submission. However, because Mr. Behette died as a result of such heroic acts and exceptional circumstances, we are asking the Board to waive this requirement. We believe Mr. Behette's legacy of courage, humility, and service deserves to be honored, and that we must pursue every opportunity for such stories to be acknowledged, lest we or our children ever forget.
We wish to express our strong interest in a favorable determination for Ms. Behette as she seeks recognition for her son. Thank you for your time and attention in this matter; your consideration is greatly appreciated. We look forward to the Board's decision.
Michael G. Grimm
Member of Congress