Joe Iaboni, president and executive member of the Jamaica New York Rotary Club, in collaboration with the New York Police Department, honored a group of brave men and women in blue, for their commitment to serve and protect citizens, at a monthly Cop of the Month ceremony on Sept. 11, 2021, which coincided with a 20th Anniversary Remembrance to honor those lost in the twin-tower attack.
The police officers who were presented with plaques during a luncheon at Villa Russo, Richmond Hill, on Sept. 29, are attached to the 102, 103, 106 and 113th Precincts. They are PO Giancarlo Pineda, Cameron Garguilo, Levi Jaggerauth, PO, Ivor Alexander, PO David Kim, PO Gozzi, PO Agunzo, Sgt. Kimberly Marshall and PO Kairine Jamison.
Iaboni, who said the Jamaica Rotary Club, is the only branch that has hosted the “Cop of the Month” awards ceremony for outstanding service in the community for the last 18 years, also rang a bell and announced the names of 15 fallen heroes, who died in the Twin Towers, on Sept. 11, 2001.
Empty chairs each decorated with a single yellow rose, NYPD caps, and sashes, paid tribute to the brave heroes lost. Police Officer Edward R. Byrne, formally of the 102 Precinct, for whom some of the plaques were named, and who served the force for two years before dying in the line of fire at age 22, was also remembered with a poster image propped on an easel in front of the podium.
Iaboni, the longest serving president of the Jamaica Rotary Club, praised the cops, and thanked them for their bravery, and dedication to keeping the community safe. He also expressed gratitude to captains of the various Precincts, for recommended those who went beyond the call of duty, deserving of the accolade.
“The work that was done, demonstrates the bravery and commitment these offers have done to keep the community safe. We make it our business, even if these are criminals, and even if they are shooting at other criminals, it is our job to keep them safe, so we put our lives on the line to make sure no one gets shot said Chief Ruben Beltran.
He commended the officers for the stories of sustaining life and bringing people back to life. “There are dozens of incidents that occur on a weekly basis that we are privy to but are never reported in the newspaper. But over here, once a month at least 10 times a year we get an opportunity to be recognized by the business community,” said Chief Beltran.
He said there are many more officers who are deserving of the honor, but there was not enough space to hold them in the banquet hall and called on the audience to give those present a round of applause. He also thanked Iobani for keeping the work of the souls who died in the line of duty alive.
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar called the officers heroes and New York’s finest. “My office has always been open to officers. I always say, my office, is your office too. Officers are our good friends. They work with us,” she said.
The politician commended the officers by saying they should be treated with respect, because they put their lives on the line every day.
“I was so moved by the stories of bravery that I heard today. Like the eight-year-old girl that was saved. You do your work despite criticism and negativity, and as a public servant I understand the struggle too. We appreciate everything you do. Courage is one quality I respect, and you have that,” said Assemblywoman Rajkumar.
She thanked Chief Beltran for personally greeting her in her office after she was elected and applauded him for making the effort. “Not too many leaders would do that, I appreciate your leadership and I can’t wait to continue working together,” said Assemblywoman Rajkumar.
Uriel Seenarine, a community businessman who said he has always supported the Rotary, was inducted as a member and sworn-in by Present Joe Iaboni.
As part of its outreach program, the Rotary Club has donated to nursing homes and children’s centers, and continue to made donations throughout the community.