Jaime Baldassare, an active Mount Sinai community advocate, passed away last week after a battle with COVID-19.
A retired Suffolk County corrections officer, Baldassare dedicated his life to volunteering in the Mount Sinai and surrounding communities. He served on the Mount Sinai School Board, was a past president of the North Shore Youth Council for a full decade, held the title of former vice president of the North Shore Colts and was ex-chief of the Mount Sinai Fire Department.
“It’s difficult to sum up someone like him in a few sentences,” said Andrew Samour, assistant chief at the Mount Sinai Fire Department. “He will be missed.”
Samour said Baldassare was with the department for 26 years.
“He was a dedicated firefighter for this department,” he said. “He was a fun guy to hang around with and had a great sense of humor.”
Baldassare was previously the assistant chief at the department from 2009-2015, and most recently served as chief from 2016-2017.
In 2017, he told TBR News Media that he loved helping other people.
“There’s nothing quite like when you pull someone out of a fire or out of a wrecked car and you find out the next day that they made it,” he said. “It’s a feeling you can’t describe. I love to do this. We train to be the best we can be so anytime a call comes in, we’re ready to do whatever it takes to help the people of Mount Sinai.”
When Baldassare wasn’t putting out fires, he was helping his wife with the Heritage Trust. Lori Baldassare founded Heritage Park nearly two decades ago, and he was right by her side.
Victoria Hazan, president of Heritage Trust, said that he could be found joking and chatting with people visiting the center.
“He surely will be missed, that’s for sure,” she said. “He was a great contributor to Heritage and truly well-loved by many people in the community.”
Baldassare was brought to Stony Brook University Hospital in December where he was diagnosed with the virus.
He was just 62 years old when he died on Feb. 4.
“He’s done so much for the community,” Hazan said. “Even though he was in the background, he was an asset to Heritage.”
On Sept. 10, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) joined the Heritage Trust Board of Directors to honor Baldassare for his dedication and service to the community.
“I want to personally thank Jaime for all the years of service he has provided to our community,” Anker said. “Our community has been so positively impacted by Jaime. Among Jaime’s many contributions, he was instrumental to the creation and maintenance of our beloved Heritage Park in Mount Sinai.”
The North Shore Youth Council is mourning his loss, too.
Robert Woods, executive director, said he will be greatly missed.
“Jaime Baldassare served diligently for many years on our board of directors. He always served with joy during his time as president and made great strides in helping youth and families cope in our communities,” he said. “His legacy helped shape our unique prevention model, which supports hundreds of youth today.
Baldassare is survived by his wife of almost 30 years Lori, and his three children, Katie, Jesse and Cody.