49th Precinct breakfast honors cops, civilians

49th Precinct breakfast honors cops, civilians
“The breakfast brings together (a) whole assortment of people. We all celebrate the police and the community involvement with the police together.” – Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president.
Silvio J. Pacifico

The 49th Precinct Community Council’s annual fellowship breakfast is approaching.

The council’s 29th Annual Fellowship Breakfast and Awards is set to take place at Maestro’s on Friday, May 19, honoring several police officers, as well as a funeral director, an educator and community leaders.

“The breakfast brings together (a) whole assortment of people,” said Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president. “We all celebrate the police and the community involvement with the police together.”

Non-precinct honorees are Citizens of the Year Lori Solano, P.S. 108 assistant principal and Tony Vitaliano, Community Board 11 chairman; and Civilian of the Year and Business Fellowship Award honoree Crescenzo Di Costanzo Jr. of John Dormi and Sons Funeral Home.

Law enforcement personnel from the four-nine being honored are Cop of the Year, Manuel Vargas; Charita Davis, Police Administrative Aide of the Year and Patrick Campbell an auxiliary sergeant, who is the Auxiliary Officer of the Year, said Thompson. The Explorer of the Year is Juan Jose Aracena, he said.

Tickets are still available for the event, he said. They cost $20 per person, $85 for a table of five or $175 for a table of ten, he said.

According to Thompson, the police department selected the personnel from the precinct to honor, and this is likely based on metrics like arrests and number of hours.

A committee of 49th Precinct Community Council board members based on recommendations and discussion selects the civilian awards winners, he said.

“The people we have honored have done an exceptional job in their communities,” said the precinct council president, adding “They don’t take photo ops and they don’t grandstand; they just do what they feel is right.”

Vitaliano was selected primarily for his good work as a community board chairman, said Thompson, but he also had a 38-year NYPD career, retiring as a lieutenant after a quarter century working as a detective, including leading a precinct squad.

“I am overwhelmed, I am honored and I cannot believe it,” said Vitaliano when he first heard of the recognition he would receive.

He said that as a detective he always tried to empathize in an appropriate way with crime victims, and this empathy helped him later to “put himself in others’ shoes” as CB 11 chairman.

Solano is being recognized for her efforts to raise money from her family for the precinct council’s annual holiday food drive, usually between $900 and $1200 a year, said Thompson.

Solano explained that her father was a caterer who had a soft spot in his heart for feeding the hungry, especially the elderly through Meals on Wheels, and she said she would accept the award in his memory.

“It is obviously a privilege and I was so touched by it,” she said.

Di Costanzo was selected for his funeral home’s involvement in National Police Week 2017 from Sunday, May 14 to Saturday, May 20, his work with an organization that places a wreath annually at a police 9/11 memorial and for providing flags for the Peace Memorial Plaza Memorial Day remembrance each year.

“I do try to support in every way I can,” he said. “If that means I get an award, I am glad to accept it.”

To purchase tickets, call 49th Precinct Community Affairs Office at (718) 918-2032 or Silvio Mazzella at (917) 763-4392. Tickets may not be available at the door.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procc[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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