ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The funeral service for Rochester Fire Department veteran Elvis Reyes commenced Wednesday morning at the front steps of the Public Safety Building.
A procession began at 9:30 a.m. and finished at the Blue Cross Arena around 10 a.m. for the start of the funeral ceremony. The service continued into the late afternoon.
Elvis Reyes passed away on Wednesday, September 21, due to apparent complications from surgery that was required following an on-duty injury.
Reyes spent 20 years with the Rochester Fire Department and was commended for his volunteer work, support of recruitment efforts, and work on Long Island following Hurricane Sandy.
Livestream & TV Coverage
News 8 provided coverage of the entire funeral service online on this page, alongside a broadcast segment on Channel 8 at 12 p.m. Coverage will continue on News 8 at 4,5,6, and 11 p.m.
According to city officials, the funeral was open to all members of the public.
Hundreds of law enforcement officials and community members stepped into the arena to remember Reyes. The ceremony began with the placing of the pall by Reyes’ three sons — Reid, Remington, and Roman. To begin, Remington spoke words of remembrance, followed by Reyes’ nephew, Tony Ortega.
Remington spoke at length about Reyes’ care for both his blood and his professional family.
“My dad’s love for family was only matched by love for his community,” Remington said while wiping tears from his cheek. “He lived it out by serving the city of Rochester as a firefighter for over 20 years — 17 of those years were at — truck 10. My dad had a lot of pride in his job which obviously rubbed off on Reid and I because you can see the uniform we’re wearing very proud and prideful to be firemen.”
“There’s no way to summarize his impact on the Rochester Fire department, other than seeing the number of firefighters here today,” Remington said. “There are people from Florida, Baltimore, Chesapeake, Virginia — it means a lot. This is what my dad deserved, a final sendoff.”
Ortega took the microphone and began by highlighting how important Reyes was to his life, calling him an uncle.
“I’m technically Elvis’s cousin, although I’ve always felt like cousin never quite exemplified Elvis’ role in my life,” Ortega said. “Elvis’s love for his family and community cannot be overstated.”
Following a number of prayer readings, Felix Medero Jr. “sent his cousin home” by performing a final prayer. Elvis’ cousin voiced words of affection and said the veteran only put others before himself.
“Elvis was a king,” Medero said. “Elvis was there for everyone he came across. The family and friends of Elvis seek comfort and consolation, heal their pain and dispel the darkness and grief.”
During his career, he worked at truck 10 and engine 13, as well as Ridgeway (engine 10) and Dewey (truck 2). At the end of his career, he worked at engine 19 in Charlotte.
His legacy lives on through his sons Reid and Remington Reyes, who are also firefighters with the Rochester Fire Department. City officials say the interment will take place after the funeral service.
“This is a hard loss for everyone, especially his family. Because they g[o]t to have that awesomeness 24/7,” Abdoch said. “The family is dealing with it as good as they can right now, suffering a big loss like this.”
Community calling hours for the deceased firefighter took place at Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center on the day prior to his funeral from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to Reyes, with several first responders referring to the veteran as “outstanding.”
His final resting place will be in the First Responders Section of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery on Lake Avenue.
Full Funeral Ceremony
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