2006-04-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Chamber To Honor 'Bravest And Finest' April 20

The Rockaway Chamber of Commerce will honor the "Bravest and Finest" who serve as Rockaway's first responders at Russo's On the Bay on April 20.

Those who are to be honored from each of the services are:

NYPD: Transit District 23

Police Officer Andrew Moreno has been selected to be the District 23 recipient of the Bravest and Finest Award. PO Moreno is assigned to the District's Truancy Unit where he serves as a school coordinator. Moreno is the senior member of the unit and thereby serves as a resource to other members due to his knowledge and experience. His dedication to the children can be seen in his paternal approach to his duties. He has established a superior working relationship with the local school administrators as well as his counterparts in the local precincts, and seeks out information of criminality, conflicts and pending tensions to successfully defuse situations. He is respected and admired by the children who often approach him for advice or assistance and personifies the best of the NYPD.

100th Precinct

Police Officer Dennis Darcy has been with the 100th Precinct for the past 20 years. Darcy has a wide array of experience including Anti-Crime, Conditions and Latent Prints. It is with his passion to the department and the community that he so enjoys to serve and has taken on the responsibility of training newly assigned officers. He passes on his experience, knowledge and history of the command with an unassuming demeanor and pride. He ensures that the command and the community receive the same quality of Police Officers it has come to know and appreciate. It is his positive attitude that has gained him the respect and confidence of his peers and elected him as 100th Precinct Delegate. His peers, supervisors and the community him equally.

Police Officer John Purcell has been assigned to the 100th Precinct Housing Unit for all of 2005. His activity during that time made him among the highest in the command. His year-end totals include 59 arrests, including 16 felonies. In addition, he returned 21 individuals who were wanted on 27 individual warrants. Purcell was also the arresting officer on numerous search warrants both on and off N.Y.C.H.A. property. Not least of his contributions were his five Precinct Detective Unit apprehensions. He always follows up on arrests by attending all court appearances and maintaining contact with the assigned ADA's to full fruition. In addition, Purcell assists the command's Field Intelligence Officer with all pre-warrant workups. All of Purcell's hard work is self initiated and has directly affected the Housing Unit's 5% drop in crime during 2005.

101st Precinct

Police Officer Jaclyn Napolitano entered the NYPD in 2000. Upon completion of her training was assigned to the 101st Precinct. During her Field Training period, Napolitano quickly distinguished herself as an active cop with a great work ethic and special way of speaking to her fellow co-workers. While working out of the 101st Precinct Satellite, Napolitano walked foot patrol in Edgemere, Arverne and Redfern Housing Developments where she began accumulating many quality arrests, but more importantly establishing positive police-community relations and formed a special bond with the residents of the housing community.

She currently serves as a mentor for youngsters enrolled in the Drug Education for Youth program and is a Post Advisor for the 101 Law Enforcement Explorer Program.

Lieutenant Gary Messina joined the NYPD in 1981 and was assigned to the "Tactical Patrol Force," an elite unit specializing in crime reduction and riot control. After several years on patrol and an impressive arrest record, Gary was promoted to Sergeant in 1984. He then continued to climb through the ranks and in 1990 was promoted to Lieutenant. Throughout the years, Messina was able to play a significant role in reducing crime and improving the quality of life in a number of communities in Queens. It was during these years that Messina earned his reputation from fellow officers, superiors, local residents, and most importantly, from the criminals on the streets, as a certified, no-nonsense, crime fighter. He has made countless arrests that have curtailed crime and have had strong positive effects in every community he has worked. Messina has received an astounding 72 NYPD recognition awards throughout his career. Gary is a third generation member of the NYPD to serve the Rockaway community.

His grandfather worked with the Emergency Services Unit and his father, Gary, Sr., worked for 28 years in both the 100 and 101 Precincts, and is remembered as being instrumental with numerous crime prevention initiatives including the formation of a civilian radio patrol, which was expanded Citywide after its success in the 101st Precinct.


Paramedic Murat "Mark" Olgun was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey and emigrated to Queens in 1972 when he was 15. Not knowing any English, he went on to earn a BA Degree from Queens College. He started his career with Emergency Medical Services as an EMT in 1981 in the Bronx. He graduated thirteenth at Jacobi Medic Class in 1983, and was assigned to the Rockaways in 1984 and has been working on the peninsula for over 22 years, where he met his best friend and partner Vinicio Toree. Murat has a lovely wife, Sonia, and two daughters Nicole and Tiffany.

EMT Sarah Lynch has served 18 years in the Rockaways.

Already a prestigious award winner, Lynch has received EMS' "Best of the Rockaways" Award and the Award for her involvement in the welfare of her patients both on and off duty.


The NYC Fire Department is honoring the group of firefighters who went to New Orleans to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans Fire Department was overwhelmed; much of their equipment destroyed and their members had their own personal tragedies to deal with. The call went out for help and the FDNY was quick to answer. Rockaway's Battalion 47 had many volunteers for this assignment. Many had to be turned away.

A total of 17 members went to New Orleans to man their firehouses. They responded to several large fires including some on the beloved and famed Bourbon Street. When the Rockaway Firefighters were off duty, they went to their counterpart New Orleans' Firefighters homes to offer assistance and help with the clean up.

In alphabetical order these remarkable firefighters are: FF Joseph Cavanaugh, FF Michael Courtney, FF Paul Dieringer, FF Gerard Ferrin, FF Christopher Fields, FF Robert Gates, Lt. Larry Keiley, FF Glen Malik, FF Michael McConnon, FF Kevin Miller, FF Daniel Moltisanti, FF Gary O'Hal, FF Brett Roslow, FF Gregory Ruggero, FF Kevin Shannon, FF Timothy Smith, Captain Kenneth Whelan and, of course, Chief Michael McGrath.

Tickets for the event are $40.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Chamber office.

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