Updated: October 17, 2019 07:43 AM
Created: October 16, 2019 04:33 PM
GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — The legacy of a beloved Gates firefighter will live on through a new foundation in his name.
Joe Manuse died last month from a bee sting. He was a 20-year volunteer and the department’s fire prevention officer.
The last several weeks have been tough for those who knew and loved Manuse.
“When he came in the door, everyone knew he was in the building and every time the door opens... I'm kind of waiting for it to be him and for this all to be a bad dream,” Gates Fire Chief Alan Bubel said.
The firefighter, father and brother was stung by a bee at a family event in September. While lifesaving efforts started right away, Manuse died at the hospital a short time later.
"We are still in a bit of disbelief, but we are all doing well, moving forward, doing what my brother would want us to do,” Claudio Manuse, Joe’s brother, told News10NBC.
Something that helps is the legacy that Joe leaves behind.
"If you needed his help in any way, he was there to help you,” Claudio said.
In his role as a fire prevention officer, Manuse went to schools, nursing homes, and community events to talk about safety. The day after any fire the department responded to, Manuse would go back to the neighborhood and walk the streets, knocking on doors to make sure that everyone had working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
“He was able to be there and help them and make sure that the same tragedy in that same neighborhood didn't happen again,” Claudio said.
On Wednesday, the Monroe County Fire Marshals Association named a foundation that provides free alarms and detectors to the public after Joe Manuse.
“We knew he was busy, but we didn't know how busy," Bubel said. "But his efforts, the amount of work and passion he had for what he did, that's what I think is nice about this, because it isn't... it's more than just honoring someone who lost their life too early. It's really that we're honoring somebody who dedicated their life to helping the community and public safety."
Manuse's family said the support from both the first-responder community and perfect strangers has helped keep them going.
"Never, in my wildest dreams, would I imagine the outpouring of love that we’ve seen, it was just unbelievable," Claudio said.
Donations to support Manuse’s daughter may be sent to:
Gates-Chili Fire Department
2355 Chili Ave.
Rochester, NY 14624
Click here for more information on the Joe Manuse Foundation.
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