Community News

Suffolk County Heroes Breakfast

Pictured: Left to right, FDNY Battalion Chief Jack Oehm of Tunnel to Towers and Legislator Leslie Kennedy. 

For the second consecutive year, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy sponsored the award ceremony for the Jacob’s Light Beacon of Hope Award. This year’s event was held at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale on June 20.

The Jacob’s Light Beacon of Hope Award honors Policemen, Firemen, EMS, Veterans and Active Military whose contributions to society help make Long Island such a wonderful place to live. The ceremony and breakfast were also sponsored by The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, and Bristal Assisted Living of Long Island.

The award is named after SPC. Jacob Fletcher, who unfortunately lost his life in Northern Iraq while serving his country. He was a beacon of light for his fellow soldiers, always offering to go above and beyond.

Suffolk County Heroes Breakfast

Left to right, Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy, Jr., Rev. Bill Minson, Suffolk County Clerk Vinny Puleo, Legislator Leslie Kennedy, Marcelle Leis (Veterans’ Services), Senator Mario Mattera, Mayor Francis X. Murray (Rockville Centre) and Legislator Donnelly.

This year’s ceremony saw two Jacob’s Light awards granted: one to Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon, the other posthumously to Stephen Siller, an off-duty FDNY Firefighter who died on 9/11. Siller’s family and battalion formed the Tunnel to Towers Foundation in his memory, which has made tremendous strides in supporting first responders, veterans, and their families. Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon has made considerable strides in law enforcement in Suffolk County, working to decrease recidivism and leverage existing resources to better share intelligence from Suffolk’s jails domestically and internationally.

“Frank [Siller] wanted to do good and take up the mantle of his brother,” said Hubert Johnson, who vets potential recipients on the work that Frank Siller has done in his brother’s name,” without worrying about time and effort.”

In reference to Errol Toulon, Johnson reflected that “I watched him throughout the years with the great works he’s done within the Sheriff’s department.”

Suffolk County Heroes Breakfast

Left to right, Hubert Johns, Legislator Leslie Kennedy and Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon.

Last year’s “Pandemic Heroes Breakfast” saw the Jacob’s Light Award posthumously given to FDNY Paramedic Alison Russo, who was tragically killed mere weeks from retirement. The award was accepted by her daughter, with members of the Huntington First Aid Squad and the FDNY in attendance.

The event saw massive community involvement, with members of various veterans’ groups, police and fire departments, as well as elected officials in attendance.

“They (first responders and veterans) go without seeing their families on the holidays and without uninterrupted time with their families,” emphasizing the importance of Suffolk County’s Heroes. “The consequence for many of us making a mistake is a matter of minutes to correct said mistake, but for the great multitude of first responders and military personnel, the consequence of a mistake is often life or death.”

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