NYPD union honors families of fallen officers with holiday bash
New York City PBA’s Widows’ and Children’s Holiday Party has been an tradition for generations
The families of fallen New York Police Department officers were thrown a holiday bash over the weekend in appreciation for the sacrifices they make and for their continued strength.
The New York City Police Benevolent Association’s Widows’ and Children’s Holiday Party has been an annual tradition for generations.
"This is our way of saying thanks to these hero families — not for the sacrifices they’ve made, but for the strength they show every day," PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said.
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On Saturday, an event space in Queens, a borough of New York City, was filled with hundreds of "hero families" who were treated to oysters, prime rib, pasta, a chocolate fountain and candy.
There were also costumed characters, jugglers, face painting, magicians, NYPD horses and motorcycles. The NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band marched in escorting Santa Claus.
The event gave these families an opportunity to connect with each other, many of whom share the same hardship.
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"My children got to be with other children whose fathers were killed … the children got to sit with each other just like I got to sit with all the widows," Grace Russell, whose husband was killed in 1979 while he was off duty, said at the event.
Russell's husband, officer Michael Russell, was assigned to the 75th Precinct. Russell was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who had fatally shot a civilian.
"Nobody else understands what it's like to be a police widow." Russell added. "They created a place for us to go."
The Russell family is just one example of why these New York City police officers get up and go to work each day.
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These officers walk past portraits and plaques of these fallen heroes, Lynch explained.
However, "knowing that their families have the strength and courage to carry on despite their pain gives us the strength and courage to do our job and protect this city," Lynch continued.