He listened more than he spoke, came to work early every day and always walked in happy.
He was living his childhood dream, doing the thing he wanted to do from the moment he could put his own boots on and knew that red was a color.
“Bravery was in his blood.”
That’s what the fire commissioner, Daniel Nigro, said Friday about Firefighter Steven Pollard, who died Sunday when he fell from a Belt Parkway bridge trying to rescue a trapped accident victim.
“Steven was everything we want in a firefighter.,” Nigro told mourners at Pollard’s funeral in Brooklyn, not far from the expressway where the rookie lost his life. “This young man was strong, smart, hard-working and dedicated, and above all, he was brave.”
High praise from the department’s highest man, but still not as poignant as the tears from the supermen who served with Pollard every day, the ones with Pollard on the Belt that night when he slipped through the three-foot gap that separates the elevated lanes.
“On Sunday, what Steven saw was a fellow human being in a crumpled SUV on the Belt Parkway,” a solemn Mayor de Blasio told a sea of mourners at the Good Shepherd Church in Marine Park.
On one side of the mayor hung a picture of Pollard in uniform, all business, ready to serve. On the other side sat Pollard’s polished helmet, the ladder number, “170” emblazoned on the front.
“He did not hesitate,” the mayor told the hundreds of nodding heads..”He saw someone in danger. He saw someone who needed help. In that instant he gave his life.”
Earlier, thousands lined the streets in solemn tribute as Pollard’s casket was brought inside the church
A gleaming FDNY truck had carried the casket from the funeral home to the church.
Fellow firefighters lined up outside saluted the hero.
Fire officials said Pollard was trying to save the two people trapped in the wreckage of the crash when he slipped through a gap and fell more than 50 feet to a construction site below.
Pollard, a die-hard New York Rangers fan, comes from a family of firefighters. His father is a retired firefighter, and his brother has served in the department for 11 years.