"When I heard the news I was so saddened and shocked, as were my former classmates from Riverhead High School," said Kim Wysoczanski Macri. "I knew the community of Riverhead and alumni from Riverhead High School would all come together to help Ben's family. I remember Ben as a kind soul always wearing a genuine smile. He will be deeply missed."
Macri added that the class of 1990, Riverhead High School teachers and staff, and the Riverhead community wanted to honor him with a memorial.
To that end, Macri set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise funds for his wife Kathy and children, Rudy and Gavin, and help them "through this difficult time and in the months ahead. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the Goodale family during this time," Macri wrote.
To visit the Go Fund Me page and make donations, click here.
"I am in awe over the outpouring of support Riverhead High School alumni and the Riverhead community have shown for Ben's family. In less than two days the memorial fund has surpassed its overall goal two times. Donations keep pouring in and the fund has earned over $4000. What a tribute to Ben," Macri said.
"I met Ben in third grade at Aquebogue Elementary School," said Dan Brown. "I thought he was the coolest kid because he rode his bike to school – an extended fork chopper style ride with rounded front tire and oversized knobby on the rear. Little did I know this would be the start of a lifelong friendship."
Brown added, "Our families were close growing up. We’d clown around while running irrigation pipe for Ben’s dad or bailing hay down at our place. We fished like nobody’s business. We’d spend the entire day at Meetinghouse Creek in a rowboat – catching snappers, laughing, and joking around. Ben was always bigger, stronger, and tougher than the rest. He was gritty and durable. On the wrestling mat or the football field, you were in for a long day if you drew Ben’s card – or any Goodale, for that matter. Those close to Ben were always amazed how compassionate, loving, and caring this rugged person was. He always put others first. . . always. He was a real family man. He was a genuine guy who I had the pleasure and honor to call my friend. I will miss him dearly."
Officer Goodale had been with the Riverhead Police Department since 1999.
"I graduated with Ben, and my husband knew him as the star wrestler in high school. While we weren't close friends, he was one of the good ones, friends with everyone. And everyone should always come together as a community and support one of our own. Rest in peace Ben. And love and prayers to his family," said Deana Huertas.
His friend, James Droskoski, wrote: "The memories that stand out the most for me with Ben are the intensity he brought to the wrestling team, his headlocks, his smile, and his big heart, which you didn't necessarily always see right away but it was always underneath his big physical presence.
"The most important memory, which I am the most grateful, are the conversations Ben and I had following my brother Andrew's fatal car crash.
"On April 18, prior to sunrise on a Saturday morning, Ben was the first responder that arrived to find my brother where he had taken his last breath having hit a tree by himself in his car. I'm sure Ben only shared with me what was necessary but the point is that knowing that it was Ben, who was a friend, who knew me and knew Andrew, be that person who attended to the situation made a huge difference for me, instead of a stranger who would just treat the situation more objectively and just not the same. There was a comfort there during a time of complete pain and loss that Ben provided to me and my family that we will always be grateful to him for. That connection with Ben makes this loss even deeper and more difficult to be with. I pray that Andrew can be there for him on the other side for him like Ben was there for him and for all of us."
Goodale's death left the Riverhead Police Department reeling; it was the second tie in days they had lost one of their own.
The death is the second to hit the department hard in recent days. On October 7, Detective Robert Boden, 54, who served Riverhead Town for almost 32 years, died after suffering a pulmonary embolism and heart attack, his brother-in-law Lt. David Lessard said.
Throughout the dark hours, the outpouring of love from the community has helped to comfort, Lessard said. “It makes us proud to be Riverhead residents,” he said. “This is a tight-knit community and everyone really comes together in a crisis.”Visitation for Officer Goodale will be held at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue.