NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- The North Salem Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To The Editor:
There was a glow, beauty and affirmation in Tricia Rubino; she wanted to live, and she celebrated life.
You could see it in her smile, the sparkle of her eye, the lilt of her voice. She was uncomplaining. She dealt.
It wasn’t always easy, but she had faith. And she had fight. And she had three beautiful kids, now young adults.
Every year of her nine-year battle was important; she was assured with each passing year they were better able to take care of themselves.
Patricia Lee-Rubino came from good stock, to that I can attest. Our parents and family members have known each other for most if not all our lives. Her dad followed mine into the FDNY; her mother and mine (and her dad, too) went to grade school together: Our Lady of Solace, Coney Island.
We were Brooklyn fire families together, the way so many of them are; hers, for years, in Sheepshead Bay, mine in Bay Ridge. And always, the nexus, the beach in summer.
Her brothers and brother-in-law continued in that great FDNY tradition. Enmeshed in the maw of 9-11, fortunate enough to survive, they still, every day, carry the burden of memory in the number 343.
All of us have seen loss, whether to calamity, or cancer. Yet it was a rude shock, making me ashamed of my adopted town, when she was fired from her job as a judicial clerk at year’s end, when newly elected judges Aronian and Bobolia assumed their posts.
I’ve not met either, but they’ve earned a special disdain for what they did to Tricia during her valiant fight. The most injudicious thing they might ever do was done before they ever heard a case.
And shame on the Town Board for not reversing the action, saddling her with a $2,300 a month Cobra bill to maintain her health insurance during her last months, denying her all her benefits. More than tone deaf, that’s stone deaf. And blind.
Bishop DeMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, presided over Tricia’s service, in no small measure because her father, the retired fireman, is a Catholic deacon who over the decades has set up tables to feed the hungry in New York’s poorest underserved neighborhoods, no questions asked. Places where many people in our town wouldn’t dare to set foot. “I’m one of the good judges,” one of the visitors to Tricia’s wake said to her father.
Tricia grew up understanding what it meant to care for one another, no questions asked. The church overflowed for her with people like that. In too many other quarters of the public realm, that ethic has gone the way of the good judge: Retired.