Natasha Trunova started an online petition last month asking that one of two new boats be named after Timoshenko, who was gunned down in 2007 during a car stop in Brooklyn.
"He’s the only son in the family and they moved to the U.S. to find a better life and just lost their only son," said Trunova, 44, of Rossville.
"He's really the representation of a true immigrant as we see it.
"You love this country and it gives you freedom and it gives you chance. He took the chance and he did what was right."
Timoshenko was born in Belarus, came to America as a 9-year-old and graduated from Tottenville High School, in Staten Island, the New York Times reported.
In 2007, Timoshenko, then 23, was on patrol in Prospect-Lefferts Garden when he and his partner pulled over a stolen black BMW, the Times reported.
When Timoshenko approached the passenger side, Dexter Bostic opened the window and fired several shots, hitting the officer in the face. He died five days later, the Times reported.
Trunova has never met Timoshenko or his family, but said his death was a "big shake to our community" and the idea for the petition stemmed from a thread on a Facebook page for Russian-Americans on Staten Island.
Since it launched, the petition has gathered nearly 2,200 signatures and was tweeted out by the 71st Precinct, where Timoshenko worked.
Trunova said she was surprised by the number of signatures and said she's gotten some from all over the country and from people of all different backgrounds.
"It's going literally outside of the Russian community, which is very inspiring," said Trunova, who came to the U.S. from the Ukraine 16 years ago.
"Right now to be united is the most important thing, regardless of background, race, gender, we’re all people."
Timoshenko's parents have been informed of the effort and they thanked the group for their push, Trunova said.
Elected officials have also expressed their support for the push to name the boat after Timoshenko. Councilman Joe Borelli sent the city a package with letters of support from Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Rep. Dan Donovan and several community groups.
"He was a respectable young man with a promising future whose life was taken by a career criminal," Borelli wrote in the letter sent on Oct. 5.
"With over 600,000 Russian-Americans living here, a ferry boat 'Det. Russel Timoshenko' would serve as a strong permanent acknowledgement of their presence, and give our youth the opportunity to learn about a Russian-American hero."
The city is replacing three of the oldest boats in the Staten Island Ferry fleet. Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $328 million to build new ones in this year's budget.
One of the 4,300 passenger boats will be named after Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, the Staten Island soldier who died shielding a Polish fighter he didn't know from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. That craft is expected to set sail in 2019.
The second is expected to be ready in 2019 and the third in early 2020, the city previously said.
The names for the other two 4,300 passenger boats have yet to be picked and several people have started dueling campaigns for them.
Suggestions include Edward del Pino, a retired NYPD officer who subdued a crazed man who killed two people aboard the ferry in 1986; NYPD detectives Rodeny J. Andrews and James V. Nemorin who were killed during an undercover gun bust in 2013; and former Richmond County Clerk Mario J. Esposito and his wife Angelina J. Esposito, who worked with charitable and community organizations.
So far, the petition for Timoshenko has the most signatures.
Despite the crowded field, Trunova said she doesn't see it as a competition but just wants to remember Timoshenko.
"It's not about winning, it's just honoring the person who died protecting the community," she said. "I don't see it as a win or a lose."