He's an 'Amazing Light of Energy'
Man who lost legs in ferry crash is honored


A waiter who lost his legs in the Staten Island Ferry disaster returned for the first time to the Manhattan restaurant where he formerly worked for a fund-raiser yesterday in his honor.

"I feel so good," Paul Esposito, 25, dressed in a black suit, said as co-workers who organized the event to help him out showered him in hugs and praise. "So many memories come up."

Esposito, who lives in the Monroe Heights section of Staten Island, was on his way home when the ferry crashed in October, killing 11 people and injuring dozens.

"I can't come into work," he told his co-workers at the China Grill by phone the next day.

He finally made his return last night when he wheeled his way into the restaurant.

Carol Serena, the restaurant manager, said she was too overcome with emotion to speak at first sight of him.

"Paul is this amazing light of energy," Serena said. "When you see him, you smile."

Serena said she and others at the China Grill had been planning to hold a fund-raiser ever since the accident.

"We dealt with it like a family," said Delila Harris, 29, a waitress there.

The $50-a-person fund-raiser was dubbed "Celebrating Paul's Courage." It featured dozens of raffles, an auction and was sponsored by more than 50 companies.

By 5 p.m., 300 people had arrived and 200 more were expected.

Story from NewsDay