Julian Hermosillo’s body will be en route to his family in El Cajon, Calif. today in preparation for his burial at the U.S. National Military Cemetery in San Diego.
But, as evidenced by the crowd of people who showed up for his wake Thursday at the Joseph F. Nardone Funeral Home in Peekskill, it’s unlikely the lasting impression Hermosillo left in the community will be forgotten anytime soon.
“You see all of the police officers from Wallkill in Orange County and the City of Peekskill along with all of the firefighters and EMS people that he worked with—that’s his family on this side,” said Lt. Eric Johansen of the Peekskill police department. “It’s obvious from all the people here that he was very well loved by the people in this community.”
Hermosillo, 29, of Chester, Orange County, was one of two people killed in an car crash that took place Nov. 11 on Route 17 near Goshen. Hermosillo, who was off-duty at the time, was traveling east in a 1994 Jeep Wrangler when he lost control of his vehicle and crossed over the guide rail into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a 2011 Audi.
One of the passengers of the vehicle, Giuseppa Avanzato, 90, of Oneonta, Otsego County, also died as a result from the injuries she suffered during the crash.
The cause of the accidents remains under investigation.
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said it was very important for Hermosillos colleagues to have one last opportunity to say farewell and have closure.
“I think doing this here is very important for the friendships he formed when he moved out east after the army,” Foster said.
Hermosillo was a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from 2001 to 2005. He went on to work in the Wallkill police department before joining Peekskill police on June 2, 2010.
“Anytime that you lose a co-worker or friend it’s difficult and it’s a part of life that you have to deal with,” Johansen said. “We all deal with it in our own way, just like anybody else. Julian was a great friend, very loyal co-worker and a result, he’s left behind some very deeply saddened people.”
Johansen said remembered the day Hermosillo interviewed for the Peekskill police department.
“It was obvious that he was going to be a great fit for the city and the community and he was,” Johansen said. “He was very easy going. He just had a very nice demeanor to him. He was very calm, always had a smile on his face and was very approachable. He had all the qualities that you look for that translate into being a good police officer.”
Donations in Julian Hermosillo’s name can be made out to the Wounded Warrior Project.