Tears flowed in the Bronx Tuesday night for the veteran EMS worker who was run down by her own ambulance last week. Hundreds turned out for an emotional tribute to Yadira Arroyo in front of the station house where she had worked in the Morrisania section of the borough.
It was a community candlelight vigil that brought out members of Arroyo's large family, and members of her professional family, EMS workers and firefighters who stood at attention, saluted and held candles that flickered in the evening breeze.
A flag flew at half staff in front of station house 26, where flowers and candles created a makeshift memorial. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro praised Arroyo who "lived a hero and died a hero who will always be remembered as a hero."
The 44-year-old woman's eldest of five sons, Jose Montes, said: "It's still so surreal. We miss her. When you see us you see her." As he declared, "One candle lights a thousand candles," the crowd began to chant, "Yadi, Yadi."
Jose Gonzalez, a career criminal has been charged with Arroyo's murder. He seized her ambulance while she was on an emergency call. He ran her down, killing her instantly.
The emotion felt at Tuesday's vigil no doubt will be felt again later this week, at a wake on Thursday and Friday, and a full honors funeral on Saturday.
Arroyo's wake will be held Thursday and Friday at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home at 726 Morris Park Ave. in the Bronx. Time will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on both days.
Her funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at St. Nicholes of Tolentine R.C. Church at 2345 University Ave. in the Bronx.
Several foundations are accepting donations that will go to her children.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation donated $100,000 to the family.