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Year-end honors for young leaders in 49th

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The 49th Precinct Explorers held their first annual awards dinner on Wednesday, May 14, attended by parents, friends and community leaders, honoring the young leaders for their community service.

The awards dinner, proposed by the students, was an opportunity to honor each other’s progress and those who made their activities possible. 

The group has received a number of honors this year, including acceptance at the 2008 National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado this July. 

But the Explorers are more well known for the number of community outreach events they participate in throughout the year, including a recent clean up Orchard Beach and their participation in the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade.  

Police Officer Chris Traumer, who organizes the program, said of the youths’ accolades,  “I’m impressed with the giving nature of these kids.”

Moved by the Explorer’s community service, North East Bronx Association president Vincent Prezioso and Amber Court senior residence administrator Rob Schneider were on hand to donate a total of $700 on behalf of their respective organizations to the beloved youth program for uniforms. 

“I know Chris a long time from the patrol and I told him to let me know if they ever needed anything, ” Prezioso said.  “As soon as they asked, we went to work.”

Traumer was thrilled with the generosity.  “I’m so happy that Vinny is taking a lead effort in helping get funding for the kids,” Traumer commented. “We don’t have a budget.  Everything comes from donations we get for supplies and uniforms.”

Prezioso feels the money is well worth it, considering the affect the program has on kids, with Gladys Ortiz, the mother of Explorer Jonathan Ortiz, adding that the program “teaches them how to motivate themselves.”

One such motivated individual, Explorer Lt. Alex Pizarro, 16, gave inspirational remarks about his dream to make a mark on the world that people will remember in 100 years. He said the Explorer program has made him feel he is making a difference. 

“I know, as I grow up that a lot kids end up in gangs or in jail,” Pizzaro said, “and this program really changes the kids and involves them in something positive.” 

Pizzaro won Explorer of the Year, along with Jacob Teran. 

Brenden Velez was named the Explorer of the Month.  Eddie Verdejo was honored as Junior Investigator of the Month. Scusa, Jeremy Liker, and Gianna Stallone were promoted to corporals. 

The Meritorious Award went to Jonathan Ortiz, who saved a life by preventing a man, suffering from an adverse reaction to medication, from rolling into the street.

Oscar Valdes and David Ramos were honored as the advisors of the year, while 49th Precinct Council President Joe Thompson was honored as Man of the Year.

Speaking about the program, Thompson singled out Pizzaro with a message that was also suitable for all Explorers, stating, “You will achieve your dream, I know you can.”

To help contribute or to learn more about the Explorers, contact Traumer at (914) 497-7646, or call the 49th Precinct at (718) 918-2021.

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