GREENBURGH, N.Y. –The mournful sound of bagpipes rang through Elmsford Monday as hundreds gathered to bid farewell to fallen firefighter and village worker Tyler Rush.
An ocean of blue saluted Rush before friends and family remembered his life inside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, saying their final goodbyes to the 24-year-old Elmsford volunteer fire lieutenant.
“He was the sweetest person, had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone,” his sister Francesca said in a prepared statement.
A laborer in the Elmsford Water Department and son of Hartsdale Fire Chief and Village Trustee Edward Rush, Tyler Rush died Thursday when his 2006 Honda motorcycle collided with a car on Saw Mill River Road in Hawthorne.
Just after 10 a.m., a black Cadillac hearse carried Rush’s body to the front of the East Main Street church. Outside, firefighters from around the county formed a wall of blue as bagpipes played.
Inside, a standing-room only crowd packed into the sanctuary with dozens more in a cafeteria downstairs and even more listening to the service on loudspeakers outside.
Fighting back tears, family and friends remembered the former SUNY Rockland Community College baseball star as loyal friend with an infectious sense of humor and loving nature.
“To anyone that didn’t know him he might seem intimidating but to me he was just my big teddy bear,” Francesca Rush said. “I never felt safer than I did when he would hug me.”
Rush joined Live Oak Engine Company when he was 18, earning the Firefighter of the Year award three times and a Life Saving Award. Later, he became a lieutenant within the department and an EMT.
Elmsford Assistant Fire Chief Pete Deluca called Rush’s death "devastating."
“It’s a big loss to the fire department and a big loss to the community,” he said.
Village offices and fire and police departments were closed for the day for the farewell.