Community rallies around ailing volunteer firefighter

- Loved ones of Willy McCue, 19, have always thought of him as a hero. A fierce high school varsity athlete. A volunteer firefighter.

"He joined the fire department just to give back to everybody," New City Fire Assistant Chief Richard Willows said. "That's the type of heart he has."

Willy's strength and bravery are being tested to the limit. He has been in critical condition in the hospital for over a month. He caught a severe case of the flu, which led to pneumonia and sepsis.

"Both hands were amputated and both feet," Willows said. "And they are working on his leg right now which is hopeful."

Willy's uniform and helmet await his return at the New City Fire Department in Rockland County. The teen volunteered here as a probationary firefighter and was a 2016 graduate of Clarkstown High School North. His former football coach set up a GoFundMe page to help.

"It's tough. I went to go see him last week and his spirits are high right now," volunteer firefighter Thomas Gerlich said. "I'm hoping that they stay high and let him know that we are behind him with him through this whole process."

Willows added, "As sad as he is, he's in good spirits and just wants to get to rehab and get back riding the trucks—that's what our goal is."

While Willy undergoes more surgeries, his loved ones are busy raising money to help him adjust to life when he comes home.

As of Friday afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had nearly $74,000 in donations. The community and fire department are also coming together to organize several fundraisers starting in April.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories