Spencer Estate cop hero remembered

A NY-NJ Port Authority police officer and teacher at Lehman High School, Dominick Pezzulo was remembered fondly as the community came together to name a green space after him.

Officer Pezzulo’s wife and children were on hand as the hero cop, killed on September 11, 2001, was honored with the renaming of a traffic triangle on the corner of East Tremont Avenue and the Hutchinson River Parkway on Sunday, September 12.

The triangle is located across the street from Lehman High School, where Pezzulo was a teacher for seven years before joining the NY-NJ Port Authority Police Department. The PAPD honor guard, pipe band, members of the Port Authority Police force, and administrators from Lehman were all on hand to remember one of their own.

During the remembrance, Councilman Jimmy Vacca spoke of how the brave officer rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center attacks in a bus he and a group of fellow officers commandeered from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown.

Vacca mentioned that Pezzulo bravely worked to save the lives of two fellow officers trapped under the rubble in an underground concourse.

“Dominick Pezzulo was a public servant two times over, first as a public school teacher who inspired hundreds of young people in our community and then as a public safety officer dedicated to keeping New Yorkers safe,” Vacca said. “It is my hope that when thousands of young people walk by this triangle each day, they remember someone who truly defined courage, someone who knew what it meant to have character, both in ordinary and extraordinary times.”

Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns said that Pezzulo exemplified what a community-conscious person should be. Also speaking were Port Authority Police Department Benevolent Association president Paul Nunziato, Lehman High School assistant principal Karen Andronico, and Community Board 10 chairman John Marano. Lehman High School principal Janet Saraceno was also in attendance.

After a ceremony at the site, Pezzulo’s widow Jeanette pulled the cover off the street sign bearing her late husband’s name. Pezzulo was just 36 when he died. His wife said he would have been thrilled to see a street named in his honor.

“Dominick would be grinning like the Cheshire cat if he saw this sign,” Pezzulo said. “He had a dynamic personality, liked to be the center of attention, and would always make an impression in a room full of people.”

Pezzulo deeply misses her husband, but said that the more times he is remembered and honored at community functions, the more her pain is eased.

“I miss him every day, but it does make it easier knowing that people will not forget the sacrifices that he made,” Pezzulo said. “This is a tribute to everyone who sacrificed their lives on September 11th.”

Community Board 10 passed a resolution in support of naming the traffic triangle in his honor in 2009, followed shortly thereafter by the City Council’s approval of the naming in December.

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