STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Staten Island University Hospital ambulance, draped in purple and black, served as the hearse. The FDNY honor guard took up three blocks of Bradley Avenue. The skirl of bagpipes and plaintive drumbeats announced the arrival of the casket at St. Rita's R.C. Church.
Staten Island Advance/Irving Silverstein
Staten Island University Hospital ambulance with the casket of EMT David G. Restuccio in the funeral procession proceeds down Bradley Ave. to St. Rita's Church for the funeral Mass.
It was no ordinary funeral. But then, David Restuccio was no ordinary man.
The veteran paramedic, who died Aug. 27 when his ambulance was struck by an SUV that went out of control and hopped a divider on Hylan Boulevard in Eltingville, was laid to rest Friday. Hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues -- especially colleagues -- turned out for the funeral.
Eulogist Matthew Restuccio conveyed his father's unique style and giving nature through stories that made his hearers both laugh and cry.
"Even though he had retired [after 25 years as an FDNY EMS lieutenant], he never really retired from his vocation," said Matthew Restuccio. "He just couldn't stop helping people. It's what drove him. It was an enormous part of his heart and kind soul.
"With my dad no longer here, it is now up to us to rise up and help each other the way that he helped each and every one of us."
The words prompted a standing ovation.
David Restuccio, 58, worked for the Fire Department from 1981 to 2006 -- he was among the first responders to the World Trade Center on 9/11 -- and continued working as a paramedic for University Hospital.
Blessed with an extraordinary gift for friendship, Restuccio was revered among the Emergency Medical Services, SIUH and FDNY communities.
Every ambulance service on Staten Island was represented when stunned mourners gathered last week at University Hospital.
The Meiers Corners resident graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School in 1971.
In addition to his son Matthew, he is survived by his son David and by his fiancée, Dr. Lorraine Giordano, a longtime EMS medical director who more recently served as an emergency medical physician for the FDNY.