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NYPD first responder remembered at Smithtown funeral

As police officers carry the casket of fallen

As police officers carry the casket of fallen officer Robert Grossman out of Temple Beth Sholom, his mother, Harriet Epstein, and his stepfather, Morton Epstein, follow. (Oct. 12, 2009) Photo Credit: James Carbone

New York City Police Officer Robert Grossman was remembered at his funeral in Smithtown Monday as a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a friend to countless people he met over the years.

His death left a void in their world as they and hundreds of mourners bid farewell to the Rocky Point resident who died Friday at a local hospice. Grossman, 41, developed a brain tumor his physician and family said he got when he worked at Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the weeks following the terrorist attacks.

"There will never be another you. I love you forever," his wife, Carla, said at his services, held at Temple Beth Sholom.

The couple met in a Shakespeare class, Comedies and History, at Stony Brook University, his wife said. They dreamed that someday they would operate a bed-and-breakfast on Cape Cod, she said.

Grossman - who had worked at the 28th Precinct in Harlem since 1994, when he graduated from the police academy - also left behind a son, Noah, 6.

At the end of the funeral service, six police officers delivered Grossman's coffin into the hearse while a bugle played "Taps" and a bagpipe played "Amazing Grace." In the temple's parking lot, about 100 police officers stood silently and saluted.

Grossman's father, Stephen Grossman of Bohemia, urged the nation's leaders to do more to provide treatment for scores of first responders like his son, whose health troubles, he said, stemmed from their time working at Ground Zero.

"We have $3 billion for clunkers and no money to help these first responders," Stephen Grossman said Monday, minutes before he headed to Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai to bury his son.

Many first responders and their relatives have said they were sickened after working at or near Ground Zero but New York City officials have stopped short of saying the air quality in lower Manhattan after 9/11 was unsafe.

Michael Valentin of Ronkonkoma, a retired NYPD officer who said he has suffered from several respiratory problems since working at Ground Zero, helped establish the 9/11 Police Aid Foundation. His group has helped more than 150 sick police officers and their families pay medical and other bills.

Valentin urged Congress to pass the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which would provide testing and treatment for those suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.

Earlier Monday, officer Janna Borzelle, a Suffolk County sheriff's deputy who worked with Grossman at the 28th Precinct in 2004-07, described him as a "big ball of energy" and a man who loved foods.

One time, Borzelle recalled, Grossman was tired of hospital food and asked for a pizza. Another time, he was returning from radiation treatment and declared,"I am hungry," Borzelle recalled. "When am I going to eat again?"

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