PHOTOS: BRONX FIRE HERO REMEMBERED FOR SELFLESSNESS AT FUNERAL MASS.
Mensah, 28, was mourned Saturday at a funeral mass which recalled the characteristic selflessness that cost the young soldier his life.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel R.C. Church was packed with friends and family, many wearing colors from his native Ghana, and with fellow members of the military who praised his heroism.
Mensah died Dec. 28 while helping neighbors escape his five-story apartment building while it was engulfed in flames. Mensah reportedly rushed in and out of the burning building four times.
He was among 13 people killed in the city’s deadliest fire in more than a quarter-century.
In a rare show of solidarity, members of the city Fire Department lined 187th Street as the soldier’s flag-draped coffin was brought into the church.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan thanked Mensah in his homily, and told mourners that he took up his cross when he died saving others.
Mensah’s sacrifice reflected his actions throughout his life, according to his family and friends.
“How can I put in words everything that you meant to us?” Mensah’s aunt, Sherri Kommey, said in her eulogy. “How do I sum up everything about you in a few words for the page? I couldn’t and I still can’t.”
Kommey told The Post she wasn’t surprised when she learned her nephew went back into the burning building to help others. “Whenever you needed help with anything, he was there,” she said. “He is going to leave a hole in my heart and the whole family’s hearts.”
Mensah, who immigrated in 2012, worked for American Airlines for five years before enlisting in the Army. He was home for a holiday break after completing basic training in Georgia when the fire broke out. He was scheduled to head next to Virginia for training as a Military Police officer.
His friend Erwin Boating, a sergeant in the Marines, remembered Mensah as kind, energetic, patriotic and smart. By saving lives, “he died serving his country, and that’s the most honorable thing you can do,” Boating said.
On Friday, Mensah was posthumously awarded the Soldier’s Medal and the New York state Medal for Valor. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where he received a 21-gun salute. His father, Kwabena Mensah, 62, was presented with the flag from his coffin.
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