From left, East Brentwood Fire Commissioner Javier Valentin gets a hug...

From left, East Brentwood Fire Commissioner Javier Valentin gets a hug Tuesday from Jose Ledesma as his wife, Elsa Ledesma, looks on at a Brentwood ceremony to add the name of their late son, Marcos, to an Evergreen Avenue street sign. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

A car crash killed Marcos Ledesma two years ago Tuesday, but his name and what it represents — one man's service and sacrifice for others — stands tall in Brentwood.

His many family and friends assembled Tuesday afternoon on a Brentwood street corner where “FF Marcos Ledesma Way,” a placard in honor of the hometown firefighter and Iraq War vet, now sits above an Evergreen Avenue street sign.

“He was a great friend to all of us, he was a patriot, a gentle soul, and just an amazing person,” said Frank Vasquez, assistant chief of the East Brentwood Fire Department where Ledesma served as a volunteer.

Ledesma, 31, deployed to Iraq in 2010 and served in the United States Army for just over five years. Back problems cut his military career short, Ledesma's mother, Elsa Ledesma, said. He found his way home where he resumed serving others as a firefighter.

“His dedication to not only the people of Brentwood, but the people of the United States was just amazing,” Vasquez said at a news conference at the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Fulton Street.

Firefighters among the crowd of close to 40 stood at attention in their dress blues as East Brentwood Fire Chief Bryant Figueroa pulled down a covering to reveal the sign.

Elsa Ledesma, 70, described her son as a positive force in the community and an “an inspiration to me.”

Days before he was killed in the crash, she said, her friend's grandfather needed help moving. Marcos stepped up, his mother said.

As a parent, she added, “I felt very happy that he went by himself without any interest in money because it's from his heart.”

Early on July 9, 2022, according to the New York State Police, Ledesma was heading west on the Southern State Parkway in Bay Shore at an unsafe speed when he crashed a 2016 Subaru near Exit 41.

State Troopers responded at 5:41 a.m. and found the Subaru on its side in a wooded area off the parkway and Ledesma in the driver's seat with fatal injuries. 

For Brentwood residents and anyone else in the area of Evergreen Avenue and Fulton Street, “every time that we pass here, he will always live in our hearts, in our minds, and our souls,” said Islip Councilman Jorge Guadrón at the ceremony.

Said Ledesma's mother: “My son was always proud about the community because he liked to help the people that live here.” 

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