Firefighters from across Monroe County came together Sunday for a hockey game to benefit the late Fireman Joe Manuse.
"This is just a great way to for us all to get together and just celebrate 48 years of Joseph Manuse,” said Claudio Manuse, Manuse's brother.
Those 48 years ended too soon. The Gates firefighter died after being stung by a bee in September. After decades of service, firefighters and the community are continuing to uphold his legacy.
His family was greeted by applause as they entered the ice rink ahead of the Battle of the Bureaus charity hockey game.
“He was the most kind-hearted person I met from day one. It felt like his wings engulfed me and took me along that journey of being first responder becoming a firefighter myself," said Michael Stoerger, Monroe County Firemen hockey team captain.
Proceeds from the game, concessions and raffles went to the Joe Manuse Memorial Fund and the Residential Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Foundation, a foundation created in honor of the late fireman.
“Everything he’s done for the children, teaching them the fire safety across the way, the schools and town loved Joe, and rightfully so. So, hopefully, we keep his legacy going strong and positive way,” said Stoerger.
While it was a great way to support both foundations, the Manuse family says it was also about sharing stories.
“The outpouring that’s come in from the community has just been unbelievable," said Caludio Manuse. "We appreciate every letter and every thank you and every prayer that everyone has been sending us."