By David Cruz
This is one feel good Bronx Tale.
Police officer Marlene Croom burst into tears after receiving a grant for her special needs child, especially after it was personally handed to her by “A Bronx Tale” author and star Chazz Palminteri.
He and Philip Foglia, the state deputy inspector general, stopped by the 49th Precinct on April 25 to present the Detective Philip Foglia Memorial Fund grant to Croom, the mother of 23-year old Christina Walker, who is mentally handicapped.
The grant is named after Foglia’s father, NYPD Detective Philip Foglia Sr.
Croom was starstruck.
“I wasn’t expecting Chazz,” said Croom, who has two other kids.
Seeing the $3,500 check, Croom couldn’t hold back tears of joy.
“People tend to forget about handicapped children,” she said. “They’re just unique in a different way.”
Despite her demanding job and caring for Christina, Croom said she’s able to juggle both well. “I’m a good manager,” she said Croom with a smile.
The memorial fund is linked with Foglia and Palminteri’s nonprofit, The Child Reach Foundation, which donates money for pediatric diseases. The two have recently expanded its humanitarian mission by giving a total of $25,000 in direct grants to law enforcement families of children with special needs.
The grant has a personal meaning for Palminteri and Foglia, whose respective dads worked in civil service jobs.
The 49th Precinct was chosen since the elder Foglia lived in the community until he died.
Foglia Jr., a former assistant Bronx district attorney and federal prosecutor reached out to the 49th Precinct to see if anyone matched the organization’s requirements.
Palminteri, known for playing tough guy roles, is a real-life supporter of police officers.
“They’re underappreciated,” said Palminteri who finds giving the grants personally “a good feeling,” a reason he stopped by the station.
As a direct grant, the money can be used for anything, said Foglia.
It’ll come in handy just in time for Croom, who just bought a home, complete with a backyard.
Croom had Christina in mind when she first thought of buying the home, since she can’t go out by herself.
“That was the purpose of me buying the home – she wanted her own space,” said Croom.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.