Ten years after tragedy, a new way to remember RVAC members

Heidi Behr's family and friends gathered Sunday at Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corp's headquarters for a memorial service. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo photos and video)
Heidi Behr’s family and friends gathered Sunday at Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corp’s headquarters for a memorial service. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo photos)

The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps has unveiled a memorial to honor two of its members that died in a crash while transporting a patient to the hospital in 2005.

The “Heidi J. Behr William A. Stone Reflecting Memorial” consists of a fountain surrounded by a pair of benches at the ambulance headquarters on Osborne Avenue.

Kim Pokorny, president of the ambulance corp, said Allan Schule of Sound Shore Pond and Landscape in Wading River donated the memorial and worked hard to make sure it was prepared for Sunday, which marked the 10th anniversary of when Ms. Behr and Mr. Stone were killed.

Ms. Behr was a 23-year-old Riverhead resident and volunteer EMT. Mr. Stone was a paid EMT and lived in Ridge.

Moments before Ms. Pokorny lead Sunday’s memorial service, she fought back tears as she explained how she’s still heartbroken over the tragedy.

It was important to not only create a serene memorial, she said, but it also needed to be portable.

“Being that we’re kind of at a crossroads with the building, whether we’re going to stay here, it didn’t seem right to dedicate the building and then have to move,” she said. “This is actually portable, so we can move it with us. It’s something pretty that we can look at, sit and reflect.”

Ms. Behr’s family — including her son Jared, parents John and June, and sister Dana — attended Sunday’s service.

John Behr said he’s grateful to the ambulance company and for the community’s support.

“I think this is very thoughtful of them,” he said, adding that he liked how the memorial’s function is perpetual through flowing water.

During the service, Ms. Pokorny turned her comments to the Behr family and cried while explaining the importance of Sunday’s gathering.

“We just wanted to have a place where you guys can come and where people can see it,” she said. “Not that we’ve ever forgotten, but just so people driving by can see.”

The ambulance corp is planning to dedicate the memorial at its open house May 11.

Heidi Behr's parents John and June.
Heidi Behr’s parents John and June.