Part of the turnpike that slices through the heart of Commack will forever bear the name of one of its hometown heroes: Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, a National Guard airman and FDNY lieutenant who died in March while serving in Iraq.
"This measure will help ensure Lt. Raguso's bravery will never be forgotten and hopefully will inspire others to emulate his selflessness and valor," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday in a statement issued after he signed the renaming bill.
The section of Jericho Turnpike between East Deer Park Road and St. Johnland Road now will be known as the "Lt. Christopher J. Raguso FDNY-CFD Memorial Highway," Cuomo said.
Raguso, 39, was one of seven men — one of four from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Air Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach — who were killed when their helicopter crashed March 15 near the Syrian border.
At his March 31 funeral, thousands of mourners gathered at a Kings Park church to honor and remember Raguso as one whose “entire life was dedicated to the service of others.”
“When men like Chris pass, we’re forced to reflect on our own worthiness,” said Lt. Christopher Gorzynski, who served with Raguso in Ladder Company 113 in Flatbush, Brooklyn. “Deep down, we know we will never measure up to the bar he has set.”
Raguso had deployed multiple times to war zones, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, and last year he traveled to Texas and the Caribbean to help hurricane victims there, his father, John N. Raguso, recalled in his eulogy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.