Jesse Baier Gerhard was born on October 26, 1988, to Bruce and Lynn Gerhard. He is survived by his parents, his brother, Casey; sister-in-law, Kristi; nephew, Bradley; and niece, Kylie.
Jesse’s passion in life was helping others. He always went the extra mile for friends and strangers alike. Despite facing challenges growing up with dyslexia, Jesse persevered and pursued his dream of becoming a firefighter, never having a backup plan.
Jesse had dreamed of being a firefighter since he was two years old, inheriting his grandfather’s old leather FDNY captain’s helmet, which he wore everywhere. Every Halloween, he would dress up as a firefighter and wear the most current bunker gear that his parents could find. At the age of 20, Jesse joined the Islip Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter and later joined their racing team, the Islip Wolves. The members of the Islip Fire Department and the racing team became a second family to Jesse.
In 2014, Jesse was accepted into and completed the FDNY EMS Academy, taking a significant step towards his dream. He spent three years with the EMS department before taking a promotional test and graduating from the FDNY Fire Academy, FDNY Badge #12023
In 2017, he was stationed at “The Big House” in Far Rockaway, which became his new home. He spent the next five years starting with Engine #264. Jesse’s passion and knowledge of tools, which he inherited from his father, led him to move across the floor to Ladder #134. He was always trying to learn new skills to improve his craft. Most recently, he began practicing welding with leftover rebar from job sites. You could always find Jesse at his workstation at the firehouse, building new things for the house or improving on old designs. At Jesse’s plaque dedication at “The Big House,” we learned of all the changes Jesse was responsible for at the house, which will forever be a part of his legacy there.
Jesse lived by the cliché “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” This was how Jesse had felt about the life he had built himself. Even in death, Jesse continued to help others by being an organ donor, which led to saving the lives of several recipients. Now, though his family’s efforts, the Jesse Gerhard Memorial Foundation will continue his mission of helping those in need.