A Franklin Street sign in Islip was renamed "Billy Moon's Way" on Sunday in memory of the FDNY firefighter and Islip volunteer who died in a training accident in Dec. 2022. NewsdayTV's Drew Scott reports. Credit: Newsday/Kendall Rodriguez; File Footage; Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner; FDNY

There’s a heavy legacy within the small street sign standing at the intersection of Franklin Street and Webster Avenue in Islip.

Without context, passersby might not know the story of grief, love and heroism behind the white post holding a sign for firefighter and Islip native William P. Moon II, who lived just yards away in the blue house across the street until his death after a training accident at his Brooklyn FDNY firehouse in 2022.

Hundreds of friends, family and uniformed officers from the FDNY and the Islip Fire Department turned out Sunday despite the sweltering heat to honor the man known to all as Billy with the sign dedication, changing its name at the intersection from Franklin Street, and wholeheartedly endorsed by his son, Colin.

“If you do not know the name of the street, it will be Billy Moon’s Way,” Colin, 10, told those gathered at the street corner.

“That’s because, as a lot of you know, Billy Moon had his way of doing things,” Colin continued. “So why not name this street after that great phrase?”

Tears were plentiful but Moon’s family and colleagues proclaimed the event a celebration — a joyous day — to honor a “happy, opinionated” man beloved by his family and community, who lived a life dedicated to helping others.

“In the future, people will come to this intersection and they’ll look up … and they’ll ask, what kind of man was this? And we'll all tell them,” said FDNY Rescue 2 Capt. Liam Flaherty, who played the bagpipes at the ceremony.

In late December 2022, Flaherty was among the FDNY firefighters who spoke at Moon's funeral about his energy and professionalism on the job. 

Moon, 47, was preparing for a drill on Dec. 12, 2022, at Rescue Company 2 when he fell about 20 feet, sustaining a serious head injury. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition but officials said it became clear Moon would not survive. The Moon family donated his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Moon's daughter, Brianne, 12, likened her dad to a superhero like Aquaman, “the defender of the underwater kingdom.” 

“My dad was the defender of his family, friends and firefighter kingdom,” Brianne said. “He was loyal, courageous, strong, brave, selfless and always willing to help others.”

Moon was appointed to the FDNY in 2002. He started his career at Ladder Company 133 in Jamaica, Queens, where he worked for 20 years before moving to Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn in 2022.

He also volunteered with the Islip Fire Department, starting in 1995, and was chief of the department in 2017.

The street dedication took place about a week after what would have been Moon’s 49th birthday.

Flaherty is on the board of the Billy Moon Foundation, a nonprofit started in January 2023 to increase organ donations across the country and support the families of both donors and recipients.

When he was alive, Moon “would ask guys, ‘Are you an organ donor?’” Flaherty said. “He was very dedicated to that cause.”

His mother, Patricia Moon, said Sunday she was “blown away by the amount of people that are here. The tribute is beautiful. His kids are going to love it forever, walking by it every day, going to school. In special moments, I’m sure they’ll stand under this sign and have their pictures taken, knowing Dad is with them.”

Kristina Moon, standing in front of the street sign named for her husband and surrounded by well-wishers, said the event had left her with “such a good feeling.”

“I think it just speaks to the selflessness of Billy, the legacy that he leaves behind,” she said.

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