FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (WABC) — The salute was solemn and the hugs were long — all in memory of fallen FDNY firefighter Jesse Gerhardt.

“So today we gathered at the firehouse to offer some level of comfort in keeping with our promise to never forget,” said FDNY Chief John Hodgens.

33 years old crashed in a firehouse in Far Rockaway a year ago after fighting the fire nearby.

“Our Jesse can’t be told how proud we are of you,” said his father, Bruce Gerhardt.

The pain is still intense for Jesse’s father.

“After his death, I started listening to previous eulogies and plaque dedications because of YouTube. It was the same thing over and over again. These people gave their lives for something bigger than themselves,” he said.

FDNY Fire Commissioner Laura Cavanaugh thanked Gerhard and his family for his seven years of service before dedicating a plaque in his honor.

“He brought out the best in us. His life is an inspiration to us all and will continue to inspire many others for generations to come,” Kavanagh said.

Gerhard, a Long Island native, joined the Islip Fire Department at 18 years old.

“He was so happy when he was called to be a firefighter in New York, and he was also extremely excited to be assigned to the Rockaways here at the 134th,” said Islip Fire Commissioner Owen McCaffrey.

“He brought such energy and passion to work every day,” said Firefighter 134 Michael Ormiston.

“We miss you. We love you. And life will never be the same without you,” his father said.

It is an eternally unbreakable bond.

“Until we meet again my friend. We’re going to work hard, we’re going to play hard for Jesse Gerhard,” added Ormiston.

Although the plaque was installed on Saturday, it will be installed at the firehouse at a later date.

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