Share via email

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 Today we honor Richard “Rev” Holst who on September 9th, 2009 answered his last alarm in the line of duty. Richie is missed everyday by his wife Noreen and his brother and sister firefighters at Huntington Manor. Here is an article on Rich which was printed in Newsday.

As the Huntington Manor Fire Department’s chaplain, Richard Holst was known to many firefighters only by his nickname, “Rev,” the man you turned to in times of stress and grief.

Sunday, the fire department grieved for Holst, along with hundreds from across the region, as they attended a firehouse wake for the 31-year veteran, who died Wednesday of natural causes on a fire call.

The Huntington Station chaplain, who was 60, lay in repose at the department’s headquarters, dressed in his blue uniform with white gloves. At either end of the coffin stood two firefighters at attention throughout the wake. Grim-faced firefighters slowly approached the coffin in pairs. They knelt before it and then stood up slowly, raising a white-gloved right hand to their brow, a final salute.

A tall, solidly built man with a crew cut, Holst had a light touch as a lay chaplain, said colleagues who elected him to the position time after time for 25 years.

Being a chaplain meant attending countless wakes and funerals, counseling traumatized firefighters and paramedics, and making house calls on the sick and bereaved. “He lived his life as a chaplain,” said Edward Billia, the department’s associate chaplain. “He believed in it.”

Holst, a retired National Grid worker, died outside a fire at the Uber Cafe on Depot Road in Huntington Station, police said. He was not involved in putting out the fire, but he suddenly collapsed while helping to coordinate efforts, officials said.

As a sign of mourning, the Huntington Manor Fire Department placed two ladder trucks outside to hold aloft a large American flag. Purple and black bunting was placed above the fire house’s front door. A digital sign outside the fire house informed motorists and passersby of Holst’s passing. “Rest in peace, dear brother,” it said.