The growing death toll from COVID-19 is a daunting figure. But it’s important to remember–especially during these turbulent times and the rough days ahead–that those who’ve died are fellow New Yorker’s with lives and families.
This story is a part of a series called “Lives Lost” aiming to honor the victims of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City. In this episode we highlight the lives of people on the frontlines of the pandemic--police, firefighters, EMTs and doctors. You can watch the full episode in the video above and learn more about the neighbors we lost here.
Dr. Lorna Breen
Dr. Lorna Breen was a physician, a cellist, a snowboarder, a hiker, and a daughter who was loved by many. Her love for the city and helping others eventually led her to become medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.
Dr. Breen battled the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.
Her father Dr. Philip Breen remembers his daughter as a hero. “She was like the fireman who sees the building burning, and instead of running away, she goes into the building to save people she doesn't even know.”
Detective Mollie Gustine was a trailblazer in the New York Police Department. She joined the department in 1963, a time when black women in the NYPD were seldom seen. She fought sexism, racism, and paved a way for future generations.
Detective Gustine had a passion for playing the piano and was a beloved mother who inspired those around her.
“To some people, she was Grandma Dukes, Mollie Gustine, Police Officer Gustine,” her daughter Bonnie Weaver said. “She is my mom, she will always be my mom, and that is who I’m going to miss, my mom.”
Idris Bey was a 27-year EMS veteran and beloved instructor. Many FDNY EMT, and Firefighters had met and worked with him at some point of their careers in order to get their certifications renewed. Bey was known for being able to keep the attention of a room with his sense of humor and genuine personality.
“He found a way to make you smile, make your day better,” Erlis Gjyrez, a co-worker and friend said.
Dr. James Mahoney was a physician, a teacher, and a dear friend to many.
Dr. Mahoney had begun working at University Hospital of Brooklyn in 1982 and never left. When the coronavirus pandemic started friends and family urged Dr. Mahoney to retire, but he refused.
“He put his patients first,” his friend Dr. Robert Foronjy said. “That's how he lived his life. And ultimately, that's how he passed, in service to others.”