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Farmingdale community remembers "pillars of the community" killed in Orange County bus crash

"Daler strong" on full display in grief-ridden Farmingdale
"Daler strong" on full display in grief-ridden Farmingdale 02:06

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Six Farmingdale High School students and one adult remain hospitalized from last week's charter bus crash. The patients are listed in fair, stable and good condition.

Loved ones said it was only fitting that it seemed to rain tears from the sky on Monday as an emotional wake began for 77-year-old Beatrice Ferrari, a chaperone and retired teacher who was the heart and soul of Farmingdale High's marching band.

"There's an initial shock and now this is the reality," one person said.

"The support is going be there because it always has been," another said.

"Have both been pillars of the community," another added.

READ MOREFarmingdale remembers Gina Pellettiere and Beatrice Ferrari, band director and chaperone killed in Orange County bus crash

Farmingdale junior firefighters Charlie Cartagena and Molly Flockhart witnessed the tragedy from another bus. Two of their junior firefighter friends were on bus one with the teachers, Ferrari and band leader Gina Pellettiere.

"When we all looked up and saw the bus, we were all in denial," Cartagena said.

"I was just really scared. I started crying a lot, because I was very anxious," Flockhart said.

"Helicopters land, ambulance back and forth, state troopers rushing in along with the fire crews," Cartagena added.

READ MORENTSB begins investigation into Farmingdale High School bus crash

Angelica Cottone was also on a trailing bus. She made chocolates and distributed them to the dozens of survivors.

"We got flipped over, like really badly," marching band survivor Timmy Broderick said.

Broderick was on the bus with the teachers who lost their lives. He-plays in the brass section.

"I received a call from him. He's OK, in an ambulance. He's going to get checked out at the hospital," father Timothy Broderick said.

"Once the rolling stopped, I saw a lot of blood on kids' faces," his son said.

"Some of them are still struggling for one reason or another," Farmingdale Schools Superintendent Paul Defendini said. "But every one of our students, at this time, is expected to recover."

READ MORE"Daler Strong": Farmingdale community comes together after deadly charter bus crash

As physical and emotional healing continues, Ed Bergnes' marching band daughter graduate arranged a Zoom call of 140 students and colleagues to share stories of their beloved teachers.

"This is a big lift, a big lift for Farmingdale. It's so sad that, excuse me, I knew these women, too," Bergnes said.

READ MOREOrange County first responders want "crash gate" built to improve I-84 response times after deadly bus crash

Multiple high school marching bands are dedicating their seasons to Farmingdale and are urging Long Islanders to wear green on Tuesday. Green ribbons were visible up and down the streets -- a symbol of support and solidarity -- showing "Daler strong" is more than just a phrase in the community.

"I think you're seeing the best of Farmingdale, certainly last week and you're seeing it again this week. That's Daler strong," state Sen. Steve Rhoads said.

Ferrari's wake continued Monday night and will resume Tuesday. Pellettiere's wake will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. The high school will be closed Thursday, so students and staff can attend her funeral.

"Gina has been a fixture here in our schools for more than 20 years and her reach and impact is immeasurable," Defendini said.

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