After serving in the Marines, Derek Floyd worked with the FDNY...

After serving in the Marines, Derek Floyd worked with the FDNY Ceremonial Unit, Credit: Floyd family

Lots of kids say they want to be a firefighter when they grow up. The Town of Huntington’s Derek Floyd carried through with that, making it as far as the FDNY Fire Academy after serving in the Marines.

Then in June 2019, just a month into training to become one of New York’s Bravest, a bout of pneumonia led to a cardiac arrest at home in bed. He survived but was left unable to complete the academy. Persevering, Floyd spent four years as a probationary firefighter working with the FDNY Ceremonial Unit, which appears at events such as parades and funerals.

His brothers in that unit now will attend Floyd’s own funeral service Monday. On April 15, at age 36, with sleep apnea now also affecting him, Floyd suffered another cardiac arrest at home in bed. He died after being rushed by EMTs to Huntington Hospital, said his wife, Christine Floyd.

“He was someone of integrity. His word was his bond. If he said he was going to do something, he was going to do it,” said his wife, a guidance counselor with the New York City Department of Education.

“And his heart beat for our kids,” she added of their daughter, Abigail, 2, and son, Ethan, 6. “He was proud to give our kids a house with this big yard, to put them in a neighborhood that's safe and in a good school district. The kids, they were everything. They gave his life such meaning.” The FDNY job, she said, “allowed him the flexibility to chaperone Ethan’s school trips. He never missed any.”

“He would do anything for anyone,” recalled his friend, firefighter Charles Niemeyer, of Manhattan’s Ladder Co. 2. “He was hardheaded a little bit,” said the Rockland County resident, but that gave Floyd confidence “that his condition could be corrected and he could get back in.”

Derek Charles Floyd was born Oct. 27, 1987, in Brooklyn, the third of four children of Charles Luckett and Ara Floyd. After attending August Martin High School in Jamaica, Queens, he enlisted in the Marines, serving from 2006 to 2015 and attaining the rank of sergeant. He earned accolades including campaign medals for tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and South Korea, a NATO Medal, and a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.

“He decided to go be a Marine,” said his mother, of St. Albans, Queens, “because he thought it could help him do better as a fireman.”

Returning home, Floyd enrolled in Queensborough Community College followed after graduation by Hunter College. He also worked as an insurance adjuster and with the Bay Shore nonprofit United Veterans Beacon House, which provides assistance to homeless military vets.

When not playing with his children, Floyd enjoyed rock climbing and hiking, board game nights with friends, video games and the football Jets.

In addition to his wife, children and mother, Floyd is survived by his sisters, Darlene Floyd and Victoria Floyd, and brother, Victor Floyd, all of Queens; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation at Chapey & Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage will be Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. and Monday from 10 to 11 a.m., immediately followed by a funeral service and memorial there. Floyd will be cremated.

The FDNY Foundation has set up the Probationary Firefighter Derek Floyd Children’s Scholarship Fund, and friends have established a GoFundMe page to assist Christine Floyd and the couple’s children.

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