New York’s Strongest Remember Ernie


 Ernie Kiburis could never be replaced but New York’s Strongest did what they could to lift his loved ones up during a difficult time. On Monday, June 29, Ernest Kiburis, known better as Ernie, was killed in a catastrophic car accident just 200 feet from his home near Beach 108th Street. On Thursday, July 2, the NYC Department of Sanitation held a drive-by memorial parade in front of the home of their fellow sanitation worker.

A sea of sanitation vehicles flooded Shore Front Parkway as they launched a parade to pass by the Kiburis home on Rockaway Beach Boulevard to pay their respects to Ernie’s family. Kiburis was a sanitation worker for Rockaway’s Q14 garage. Following Ernie’s sudden, tragic loss, DSNY spontaneously organized this parade for his family, including his wife, Laura Arena Kiburis, before his wake on Thursday. As the vehicles passed by, they honked horns, while a bagpiper played in front of the home. Before the parade came to an end, a DSNY supervisor hugged Laura, saying “anything you need, call us.”

Ernie was a friend to many within the community and the sudden loss left many in mourning. A GoFundMe was quickly established by Denise Hock of Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue, of which Ernie’s wife, Laura, is a member, and Ernie often helped with at events. “To know Ernie was definitely to love him. He was a kind, compassionate and caring man who was always ready to help anyone in need. Ernie will be missed deeply by his brothers at the NYC Dept of Sanitation,” Hock wrote on the fundraising page, which raised nearly $11,000 to cover funeral expenses.

If you’d like to donate, the fundraiser can be found at

By Katie McFadden