‘Shoot for the Moon’: Saving lives beyond our own
The story of Billy Moon, a heroic fallen FDNY firefighter, and the people whose lives he has saved
I want to introduce you to my friend Kristina Moon. Kristina lost her husband, Billy Moon, in the line of duty nearly a year ago.
Billy was an FDNY firefighter and member and past chief of the Islip (Long Island) Volunteer Fire Department. Billy started his career with FDNY Ladder Company 133 in Queens, where he worked for 20 years. He was then detailed to Rescue Company 2 in Brooklyn earlier in 2022.
As heard in the movie “Backdraft,” “The funny thing about firemen is, night and day, they are always firemen.” That was Billy Moon.
You may be familiar with the kind of person Billy was – kinda like some of you. He absolutely loved being a firefighter. Billy also coached his kid’s soccer and hockey teams, he walked them to and from school, and facetimed them from the FDNY firehouse to say goodnight. At the Islip VFD, he was an active responding member and served on the department’s drill team, marching band, hockey team and historical committee. Billy served in every operational position and wherever else he was needed. He was always there for his family and the community. And he was always on the job.
On Dec. 12, 2022, while working at FDNY Rescue 2’s firehouse, Billy suffered a serious head injury after falling approximately 20 feet during training. While numerous efforts were made to save his life, from the members of Rescue 2 to responding FDNY EMS members to the hospital staff, Billy Moon, 47, with 21 years at the FDNY, was unable to survive.
On Dec. 16, when it became clear that Billy would not survive those injuries, Kristina gave the blessing to donate his organs “to save the lives of others.” A lifelong supporter of the need for everyone to be an organ donor, Billy’s wishes were being carried on by Kristina.
But there is much more to this story.
Billy continues to save lives
Billy’s organs were removed and transplanted On Dec. 20, 2022. Kristina had requested that two FDNY members get organs in what is known as a “directed donation” after hearing from FDNY’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dave Prezant of the urgent need.
FDNY Lt. Terrence Jordan, 64, was on his deathbed, diseased by the aftermath of the attacks on America on 9/11, and he now has Billy’s two lungs in his chest. No longer requiring oxygen, this dad and granddad is alive and well.
FDNY Captain Patrick Reynolds, 63, also a dad, was suffering from a disease that was killing him. With Billy’s liver inside him, he too has a reset on his life.
Talk about a hero. To be blunt, if Billy had not been an organ donor, his healthy, strong and desperately needed organs would have perished along with him. But that was NOT the case. Billy not only spiritually lives on with his family and friends, but he physically lives on through his still-working organs, saving the lives of others.
Three other people on the national waiting list were selected by an algorithm that ranks candidates based on factors such as the severity of sickness, blood type, and physical location (response time).
A New York man in his 60s, Richard Grehl, got Billy’s heart. Two men from Pennsylvania each received one of Billy’s kidneys.
Listening to his heartbeat
In early November, Kristina and her kids met Grehl and had a beautifully emotional “reunion,” even though they had never met.
Grehl, 63, previously suffered three serious heart attacks, the last of which nearly killed him about a year ago. His heart had almost given out. Billy to the rescue.
Thanks to LiveOnNY, an organ procurement organization (the local coordinating group between donors and recipients), Kristina and the kids got to hear Billy’s heart for the first time since he gave his life. And now he is giving his heart. They heard Billy’s heart, beating strongly, keeping another person alive.
‘Shoot for the Moon’
Every firefighter understands the risks they must take. One day you will pull up on the scene, and it will be your day to do whatever it takes to save someone’s life. With that action, you may be uninjured, injured or may even give your life to save another.
This is another opportunity here – and all you have to do is say yes. Just say yes! After dedicating your life to helping others, WHY NOT CONTINUE TO SAVE LIVES?
“Shoot for the Moon!” In other words, in memory and honor of YOUR Brother Firefighter Billy Moon, indicate that you want to donate life beyond your own. Indicate that you want to donate your organs (which you no longer need) to help save another. Shoot for the Moon means you want to help, as you have your entire career, but now, when you are no longer here, you want to keep up that “whatever it takes” firefighter attitude.
Here’s how you can donate life:
- Shoot for the Moon in the United States
- Shoot for the Moon in Canada
- Shoot for the Moon around the world
The Moons do good – and so can you
Probably like many of you, Billy’s kids take after him. Colin, 9, wants to be a firefighter and recently donated 14 inches of hair for kids with cancer. Their daughter Brianne, 11, collected 540 pounds of Halloween candy and provided it to the Ronald McDonald House Charities as well as military troops serving our nation.
On June 7, Kristina – who’s become an amazing and tireless advocate for organ donation – was honored at FDNY’s Medal Day ceremony with the first “Billy Moon Medal of Life.”
Billy had registered as an organ donor in New York State, marking it on his driver’s license, and always urged others to do the same. “It was kind of a no-brainer,” he would say. “You can’t take them with you. Why not help other people?”
With Christmas and the holiday season upon us, there is no better way to leave a lasting legacy following your life of giving as a firefighter. A gift of life from you.
Please “Shoot for the Moon” TODAY so you can become a Forever Hero like your Brother Firefighter Billy Moon.
Note: Kristina launched the nonprofit Billy Moon Foundation to raise awareness of organ donation. The website is under construction, but donations can be sent via Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 1815 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11233.