By Kathianne Boniello
Of all the tributes filling the doorway of Engine Co. 320 on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the one arriving Friday morning was unique.
The parents, students and staff of PS 162 delivered the latest accolade: a large wooden board filled with an enormous heart- shaped American flag under the banner “One heart-One love-One hope.”
The flag was created with about 700 smaller hearts made of construction paper, giving the board a 3-D effect as the paper hearts fluttering in the morning breeze.
Firefighters praised the board and showed their appreciation by immediately hanging the gift high on one of the station house walls. The Engine Co. 320 firehouse is also home to Ladder Co. 167, just down the block from the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard and 35th Avenue.
“Things like this, we just really appreciate,” Capt. Kevin Cassidy said. “It feels like everything is worthwhile.”
PS 162 teachers Sharon Gralitzer and Pat Montaro said the project came together over the course of a month with the help of parents Margaret Allyn and Susan LoRe, among others. Each student and staff member at Bayside’s PS 162 made three tiny paper hearts and signed their names on the inside.
Gralitzer said “we all as a school community wanted to do something to honor our heroes.” Gralitzer said the school had enough hearts to make a second board, which will stay in the school as a memorial.
Allyn said she did not hesitate to jump in and help when Gralitzer and Montaro mentioned the project.
“I thought it was a great idea,” she said. “It just seemed like the right thing to do.”
In addition to the heart, PS 162 also collected more than $3,100 for the Red Cross’s World Trade Center relief fund, Allyn and LoRe said.
To show their gratitude, the firefighters Engine Co. 320 and Ladder Co. 167 recently hung a large sign outside the firehouse thanking the community for its support. The company’s nickname, the Patriots, was written in large red, white and blue lettering.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.