Posted on Thu, Mar. 12, 2009
Students at Our Lady of Port Richmond filed silently into the school auditorium last Thursday afternoon for an event held in honor of fallen Philadelphia Police officers.
As hundreds of students filled a room adorned with ribbons and balloons of blue and black,
On a nearby a stage, a photo featuring the seven
The day was marked as “Blue Thursday,” a pro-police event created by radio talk-show host Dom Giordano and announced during his show on The Big Talker WPHT-AM 1200.
Planned as a day to show community support for the police while honoring those who gave their lives in service to the city, Giordano visited a number of participating locations that day.
He also hosted a special live broadcast of his show that evening, from 6 p.m. to midnight, at Geno’s Steaks in
At Our Lady of Port Richmond, Giordano made an appearance and spoke before the gathered schoolchildren to highlight how important it is for the community to support the police.
“We appreciate the officers and all the hard work they do to protect us,” he said as he addressed the crowd.
Throughout the past year, Port Richmond has been hit hard by the loss of law enforcement officers.
Last year saw the deaths of two officers from Port Richmond’s 24th district — Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski, who died after being shot at the intersection of Almond and Schiller streets following a May 3rd bank robbery, and Sgt. Timothy Simpson, who died last November after a car wreck at the intersection of Allegheny and Aramingo avenues.
Just last month, the Port Richmond neighborhood suffered a further loss when Officer John Pawlowski Jr., 25, of the 35th Police District, died following a Feb. 13 shootout on
At Our lady of Port Richmond, school children symbolically lit candles for each officer, with Michael Flagg, 11, carrying a candle for Liczbinski, Kiersten Pokorny, 9, carrying one in Simpson’s memory, and Marcin Czupla, 8, carrying a candle in remembrance of Officer Pawlowski.
Officer Charles Cassidy, who died following an Oct. 31, 2007 shooting, was remembered with a candle lit by Francis Markocki, 13.
In honor of Officer Isabel Nazario, Nina Nguyen, 11, lit a candle. Nazario died following an accident on Sept. 5th of last year when her patrol car was rammed by a stolen SUV.
Ryan Rizzo, 10, a fourth grader at Our Lady of Port Richmond, honored Sgt. Patrick McDonald. McDonald was an officer with the Highway Patrol Unit and was shot while making an arrest at the intersection of
First grader Hayley Bytof, 6, lit a candle in memory of Walter Barclay Jr., who died in August of last year after being paralyzed for most of his life as a result of a 1966 shooting.
Michael Helder, 5, a kindergartener, carried a candle in memory of Daniel Faulkner, who died in December of 1981, after a shootout in
The emotional ceremony, however, reached its peak when Nicole Skerski, a seventh grader at the school, carried a candle in memory of her father, Gary.
In 2006, her father, an officer in
“I am extremely proud to be here today,” said Captain John Darby, of the police Special Victim’s Unit.
Darby was on hand as a member of the Port Richmond community to commend the school for hosting the Blue Thursday event.
Posted on Thu, Mar. 12, 2009