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Photo by Robert Stridiron
Photo by Robert Stridiron

Residents across Queens have come together to raise thousands of dollars for the family of a Glendale child who reportedly died earlier this week while trying to save his friend at Strack Pond in Forest Park.

Anthony Perez, 11, fell into the ice-covered Strack Pond in Forest Park on Feb. 6. Anthony reportedly attempted to rescue his friend — who ventured too far out onto the thin ice and broke through — when he himself became trapped beneath the ice. Anthony’s friend was able to escape and run to get help; firefighters pulled Perez from the water, but he died a short time later.

News of the tragedy spread quickly, and so did the neighborhood’s support. On Feb. 7, the president of the PTA at P.S./I.S. 113Q where Anthony went to school, Jennifer Bonowitz, launched a GoFundMe campaign after meeting with the PTA to decide how they could help Anthony’s family pay for his funeral. In less than 24 hours, the campaign has collected $11,424.

Bonowitz said she saw the news coverage the night of the incident, but didn’t know it was a child from their school until the next morning.

“I was just heartbroken,” Bonowitz said. “He was a good little boy and always had a smile on his face and was very polite.”

The PTA at P.S./I.S. 113Q spends a lot of time in the school, Bonowitz said, and provides “the mother factor in the building.” Looking at the rest of the children now, it’s hard to imagine losing one, she said.

While she has not been in direct contact with Anthony’s family, Bonowitz said that some of the family’s neighbors told them how the PTA wanted to help, and Anthony’s father extended his gratitude. Bonowitz added that the PTA and the school’s administration is thinking about ways to leave a legacy behind for Anthony by planting a tree or having a plaque made.

Anthony’s death comes less than two weeks after 13-year-old Ridgewood native Kevin Flores was struck and killed by a truck while riding his bicycle in Brooklyn, and the community raised $15,886 to support his family.

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