(Photo & Video links posted below) Flatbush, NY: Wheelchair-bound Yuri Benefeld had a simple request for his 12th birthday: a visit by a police officer, and a firefighter. But Yuri never dreamed of of the present he received yesterday.
A phone call by Yuri’s mother to Community Askan Mr. Shlomo Zakheim, and Raizy Goldberger of Chai Lifeline – ended up with 45 members of the NYPD and FDNY showing up yesterday for a surprise party.
Apparently, Mr. Shlomo Zakheim stopped by Engine Co. 309, and asked if they could stop by Yuri’s home – who is R”L suffering from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder marked by progressive muscle weakness that leads R”L to paralysis – and wish him happy birthday. The FDNY said they would gladly stop by.
Mr. Moish Goldberg (“Uncle Moish”) from Chai Lifeline then contacted the Misaskim organization to see if they can use their vast resources in the NYPD, and possibly arrange a police officer to stop by for the party.
And stop by they did!
Approximately 30 police officers, starting with Brooklyn South’s Chief Fox, 70th Precicent’s Deputy Inspector Montifortie – along with a contingency of police officers from his precinct, NYPD-ESU (Truck 6 units), and canine units.
The party started with Engine 309 presenting Yuri with a birthday cake, a toy fire hat, and a toy ax. They made sure to bring along the station’s black-and-while Dalmatian, which really made Yuri smile. The firefighters soon saw that Yuri’s blanket, had patches from many emergency agencies, and upon Yuri’s request, one of the FDNY’s bravest did an amazing thing. Firefighter James Breslin, removed his sweatshirt, took out a pocket-knife and cut his own patch off, and gave it to Yuri to add to his vast collection.
Shortly after, Chief Fox arrived, along with the Emergency Service Units (ESU), canine units, and Inspector, Sergeants, and officers of the 70th Pct.
After much hard work, and assistance from veteran Flatbush Hatzolah Paramedic Beinish Mandel, the officers managed to hoist Yuri high up into the front seat of the massive police truck, and fulfilled his birthday wish by giving him a ride around the block with the lights and sirens wailing.
The smile on Yuri’s face is not something which can be described in writing, when Chief Fox presented Yuri with his own chief cap along with a badge.
The party ended with the NYPD singing happy birthday, to a cheerful Yuri on his 12th birthday.
The NYPD & FDNY must be publicly commended for this amazing act of Chesed (kindness) which they did, and we can only pray that in the merit of this good deed, may g-d protect them from any harm.
Later at night, a group of people who learn with the “King of Jewish Music”, Mordechai Ben David in Flatbush every Thursday night went over to Yuri’s home with live music and entertained Yuri for about two hours – singing all his favorite tunes on his request.
It is interesting to note, that Yuri’s birthday coincided with the 8th anniversarry of Chief Fox – acting as Chief of Brooklyn South. Additionally, it was the first full day of work for Deputy Inspector Montiforti – who just replaced retired Inspector Harris (reported HERE on YWN). What a way to celebrate an anniversarry, and what a way to start a new job!
(Yehuda Drudgestein – YWN / Photo Credit: Raphael Grynsztajn – YWN)