Loved ones spoke at funeral for 20-year RFD firefighter Elvis Reyes

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — People paid their final respects as a procession carried the body of firefighter Elvis Reyes, who served 20 years with the Rochester Fire Department, to the Blue Cross Arena.

The funeral for Reyes was on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon. Family members, friends, and fellow firefighters spoke about their memories with Reyes and about how he impacted his community.

Tony Ortega, the cousin on Reyes, spoke about his impact.

“While we all wish that we can spend much, much more time with Elvis, it is important that we always remember Elvis’s love, passion for family and community, and to never ever let his memory die. I love you Elvis,” Ortega said.

Reyes died on Sept. 21 after complications from a surgery related to an on-duty injury. A statement from the City of Rochester said he saved two people from a fire in 2009 and he helped to instruct firefighters in the Dominican Republic. He also received recognition for his volunteer work and for saving lives during Hurricane Sandy and other disasters.

“Firefighter Reyes has made an indelible mark on the Rochester Fire Department, and his legacy lives on through his sons Reid and Remington, both dedicated Rochester Firefighters themselves,” said the statement.

Reyes will be buried at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. On Wednesday, these streets will be closed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the funeral:

  • Broad Street from South Avenue to Plymouth Avenue
  • Court Street from South Avenue to Exchange Boulevard
  • Exchange Boulevard from Main Street to Plymouth Avenue

Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez Jr. said, “Firefighter Reyes was an outstanding, dedicated firefighter who was very committed to serving the community. We will always remember him for his great smile and the positive energy he brought whenever he entered a room.”

Mayor Malik Evans said: “I express my deepest gratitude and condolences to the Reyes family.”

Calling hours were on Tuesday at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Lt. David Abdoch said thousands stopped by to pay their respects. Abdoch said the calling hours were a time to lean on each other and think about the good times that they had with Reyes.

He said the amount of people who came so far today shows how much love that the community and the department has for him.

“He is and was a very, very beautiful man with a big heart,” Abdoch said. “He always focused on giving to other people, both on the job and off the job. His works that he’s done with the school, the holy childhood, the things that he’s done in his community. He’s like the mayor of his neighborhood, of his street. Everyone flocks to him for entertaining and for love, for peace and joy. I know that speaking for myself, even when I’ve had, you know, bad days and moods when he walked into the room, just talking to him can change that, right?”

After calling hours, Reyes was taken to the Public Safety Building to lie in state, which is not open to the public.

Rochester Fire Chief Felipe Hernandez speaks about Reyes

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