An e-mail from the NJ FMBA also available at the NJ FMBA website:
March 31, 2020
Israel Tolentino, rest easy brother.
Earlier today we received the devastating news that Passaic Firefighter Local 13 member Israel Tolentino lost his life to COVID-19, coronavirus.
We can’t provide him with a true firefighter’s funeral. We can’t have hundreds of firefighters at his house playing with his children and consoling his wife and family. We can’t have food sent to a grieving family and friends because no one can gather. We couldn’t spend time with him in the hospital when he took his final breaths because no visitors are allowed.
This is hardest for our members because this is so out of character for us. We take care of our own, and while it may not be today, we will give our brother the tribute he deserves.
This is the true impact of the devastating coronavirus, and a reminder of the added danger firefighters, EMTs, and dispatchers, as well as other first responders and health care providers, face every shift we report for.
The increased risk of exposure is exactly why the NJ FMBA has been fighting every single day to make sure that our members are equipped with the knowledge, and equipment, needed to keep us as safe as possible during this extraordinary time.
While washing hands and practicing social distancing is good advice for the general public, it is not enough for the men and women of the fire service.This was why it was imperative that we got access to information sharing related to positive COVID-19 cases, recognizing that no firefighter or EMT should have to respond to a call before being made aware of the additional hazards.
Now, more than ever, we must look out for ourselves, and each other. That means both physically and mentally.
While we continue to protect the front lines of our communities, your Union will forge forward on the front lines of State and Federal policymaking by bringing forth legislation and new initiatives that will provide the protections we greatly need and richly deserve.
As we look towards a brighter and more certain future, today we pray for our brother Israel, his family and our brothers and sisters in Local 13/213
As more information becomes available, we will share it.