The parents of an 8-year-old boy killed in an ATV accident over the weekend have been stunned not just by their loss, but also by the community outpourings for an "angel" whose goal in life was to be kind.
Alexander J. Huertas, of Malverne, was the rear passenger in an all-terrain vehicle driven by a family friend in upstate Cochecton Town Saturday when state police said Monday it "entered a ditch and turned over, pinning Huertas underneath."
Passersby Paul Degiglio and Niko Ibanez lifted the ATV off the boy, police said.
The child's father, Ausberto Huertas, said he arrived shortly afterward and gave his son CPR. "It was a freak accident," the father said. "There was nothing that could have been avoided."
He said the ATV driver, identified by police as Glenn Adycki, 31, of Lynbrook, is a close friend who had invited several families to the property he co-owns.
Adycki was not seriously injured, police said.
Huertas, who works on MTA construction projects, and his wife, Dena, who helps disabled children, said the outing was supposed to be a break from their hectic lives, time to enjoy nature with their children.
"You can't shelter your kids," Huertas said. "You have to give them all their experiences and my son was looking forward to going away."
Monday, as the parents struggled with grief, they also relished telling stories of an "angel" with many talents and interests -- baseball, origami, balloons, fire engines and more.
At one point, he loved balloons so much, he had them floating in the house, which then set off security alarms while the family was away, the parents recalled.
That was when Alex wanted to be a balloon seller, saying he would give them to poor people, the father recalled.
"He always thought of everybody else," his mother said.
"If someone didn't feel good, there was a card for you to make you feel better."
Alex loved walks with his family, asking even his brothers, ages 5 and 2, how their days went, his parents recalled.
As the community learned of Alex's death Monday, other parents told them they often asked the boy if he could "rub off" on their children, the Huertas family said.
"It gives me so much satisfaction that he touched so many people," his father said through tears, "even though he was only 8 years old."
Visiting hours have been set for 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Flinch & Bruns Funeral Home in Lynbrook. The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Friday at The Bridge Church in Malverne .