Coronavirus News: Emotional vigil bids farewell to 131 MTA workers lost to COVID-19

COVID-19 News and Information
MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- A vigil was held Wednesday for MTA workers who lost their lives from COVID-19, including a train conductor killed by an arsonist.

Garrett Goble, 36, was an MTA train conductor who died in an arson fire in Harlem during the height of the pandemic.

"The last thing we were talking about was the house. How to save money. So that we could buy a house and just have a good day at work, I'll see you tomorrow," Garret Goble's wife Delilah Goble said.

She never got the chance to say goodbye to him, but if she had, she would have told him how much she loved him.

"Just I love him. That I loved him and I appreciate everything," she said.

Transit workers held a vigil outside of MTA headquarters in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday night for Goble, the father of two boys, along with 131 MTA workers who died from COVID-19.

MTA supervisor Paul Hall, had the virus. He was battling symptoms, but in May, Hall suddenly died while driving home from work.

His son never got to say goodbye.

"I love you. I wish you were here right now. I miss you and you inspire me everyday," Nyisaiah Hall said.

MTA Deputy Communications Director Shams Tarek released a statement:

"Transit workers are heroes for keeping New York moving and safe during this crisis and we are doing everything possible to protect them, to honor them, and to help them and their families during this difficult time. We have been in close, sometimes daily contact, with our colleagues and their families as we help them navigate the services available to them, distribute the MTA's first-in-the-nation $500,000 COVID death benefit, and plan a fitting memorial and tribute for the beloved colleagues we've lost," Tarek said.

It isn't just the men and women of the MTA who are hurting.

The agency itself is feeling so much budget pain that the MTA chairman says its sole focus is now survival, calling this fiscal crisis worse than the Great Depression.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says without $12 billion in federal aid, wage freezes, fare and toll hikes, and layoffs are all on the table.

"There wouldn't be one hole in the dyke called the MTA, there would be 50 holes in the dyke, it would be a shotgun blast at the dyke and you couldn't possibly fill all the holes," Cuomo said.

In the meantime, these transit workers will keep moving this city and the Goble family will continue their search for peace.

The suspected serial arsonist is still on the loose.

"It's difficult. I don't think we came to terms with it yet," Delilah Goble said. "Still looking for justice for him. It's just day by day."

The MTA says they are in contact with the Goble family and are "well along the path of planning his memorial."

They say more than two dozen families have received family benefit payments and most are well into the process.

"Let us not lose sight of the ultimate sacrifice that these transit workers and these families made for this city ... thank all of you on behalf of a city that is eternally grateful and that will be forever indebted to those lives and those workers," Councilmember Francisco Moya said.

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