Remembering “The Silent Hero” With a Scholarship Created in Honor of Fallen Firefighter

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Katie Vasquez

A community in mourning gathered to pay tribute to Marine Park resident and firefighter Steven Pollard, who tragically lost his life in 2019 while responding to an emergency call on the Mill Basin Bridge. Steven fell between the gaps as he attempted to rescue victims of a car crash.

Five years later, his legacy continues to thrive, thanks to the firehouse where he served. The Steven H. Pollard Memorial Foundation has been established in his honor. Recently, the foundation awarded a scholarship with a $150,000 gift in his name to students at his alma mater, St. Edmund Prep.

“I think that he’d be very happy to be awarding a scholarship at his own high school,” said Firefighter Andrew Spadaro. “He took great pride in going to this place, and he was very pleased with the education he got here.”

Two juniors, Sienna James and Ziaire Hope, were selected as this year’s scholarship recipients. Principal Allison McGinnis stated that the decision was clear once she learned about the scholarship, as both students displayed qualities reminiscent of Steven.

“More and more people were writing about Sienna and Ziaire, and we saw this pattern that was emerging among other students as well,” McGinnis said. “And then those names got shipped off to the firehouse.”

Like Pollard, James and Hope are actively involved in sports and extracurricular activities. They also share his quiet demeanor, though they assert that this does not diminish their dedication or effort.

“People who are hardworking and kind of not that it goes unnoticed, but you’re not like the loudest or like the top of your class, but like you’re still close enough up there.” Ziaire Hope added, “He was quiet, but he did just enough to get recognized. He was an amazing student, amazing athlete, funny when necessary, and just. He was all around a great person. Once you got to know him.”

The scholarship will cover half their senior year tuition, totaling $7,500 each. However, they express that being compared to the man known as the silent hero is its reward.

“I was really honored to know that so many people felt that I showed the characteristics of myself in him,” said Sienna. “It tells me that I’m living on his legacy in his school that he strived on to become a firefighter later on in life.”

This scholarship is endowed, ensuring that students will benefit from it for years to come and thus ensuring that Steven’s legacy lives on.