Ambulance barn to be named for Heidi Behr?

10/27/2012 8:00 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Reeves Park residents place candles at a small memorial for Tom Kelly near Sound Avenue earlier this month on Sept. 11.

Riverhead Town Board members discussed Thursday the prospects of naming the Riverhead Ambulance barn after Heidi Behr, the Riverhead volunteer who was killed when the ambulance she was in crashed in May 2005.

Another volunteer, Bill Stone of Ridge, also died in that crash. Both were in the back of the ambulance caring for a cardiac patient when the ambulance hit a tree on Route 25 in Aquebogue.

And Councilman Jim Wooten said the town recreation department has been planning to create a new handicapped accessible playground at Stotzky Park and name that after Heidi, who’s son Jared is disabled. The recreation department doesn’t have the money to do that park yet, Mr. Wooten said.

Recently, there have been a number of proposals to name things in honor of Ms. Behr and other volunteers in town.

Bob Kelly of Riverhead recently suggested that the 9/11 Memorial Park slated for a four-acre site on Park Road and Sound Avenue have an area honoring emergency services volunteers like Ms. Behr and Mr. Stone.

The Park Road park already has a small monument in honor of Bob Kelly’s brother, Tom, a New York City firefighter who died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Heidi Behr’s mother, June, said she and her husband, John, discussed that offer and she said they would accept it.

June Behr originally said she didn’t want to take away from the monument to Tom Kelly and that she wanted to discuss it with her husband. She said her husband had the same concerns, but both agreed when told it was Bob Kelly suggesting that an area at the proposed park be named for Heidi.

Supervisor Sean Walter said he has heard people like former Supervisor Jim Stark and Bruce Tria of WRIV 1390 radio criticize the town for not doing anything to honor Ms. Behr.

“I would like to have seen the ambulance corps come to us and say we’d like you to do something in memory of Heidi Behr, and they haven’t done that,” Mr. Walter said.

Mr. Wooten said “there is something afoot.”

Officials from the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance corps could not be immediately be reached for comment.

“That’s what I was thinking about, naming the ambulance barn after Heidi Behr,” Councilman John Dunleavy said. “The easiest thing for us to do right now is name the ambulance barn after Heidi Behr. It would only cost us a sign and the dedication of it and we can do it immediately.”

Mr. Wooten said that when he first took office, he wanted to establish a handicapped accessible playground at Stotzky Park for Jared, because there are currently no handicapped accessible playgrounds in the town.

Mr. Walter said he supports the idea of naming the ambulance barn after Ms. Behr but that he wanted to first get feedback from the ambulance corps.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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