Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cops: New York State Shields holiday party, Tuesday night

Text and photograph by George Molé

On Tuesday night, December 6, I was lucky enough to attend the holiday parties of two great organizations with which I'm involved--Ring 10, which works to help veteran boxers experiencing financial or other problems; and the New York State Shields, a law-enforcement fraternal group (of which I'm proud to be a trustee) that honors officers who go above and beyond in serving their communities, and supports the families of cops killed in the line of duty.

I'll be writing more about Ring 10 in the future, but in this post I'll say a bit more about the Shields.  Why?  Because I have a photo.  (I was so busy eating and talking at Ring 10's gala that I never took out my camera.)

If you want to be moved, inspired and awed, get yourself to a Shields meeting and watch the presentations.  One story after the next of sacrifice and heroism, more exciting than any 10 action-adventures from Hollywood's fantasy-mill.  On Tuesday I sat at the same table as a rather gentle-looking and reserved female sergeant, who was being honored for having come out on top of a shootout with an armed burglar.  That burglar will not be breaking into your home tonight.  And this sergeant was but one of many self-effacing heroes in the room.

One of the Shields' guiding spirits is Anna Venditti, mom of Detective Anthony Venditti, who was murdered in the line of duty in 1986 while investigating organized crime.  Another is Reverend William Kalaidjian, who spent 42 years as an NYPD chaplain, and now spends his retirement years doing...the exact same thing--supporting cops and their families.  When Mrs. Venditti or Reverend Bill speak, people listen.  (So does God, I'd be willing to bet.)  If you want to hear them, too, check out the Shields website and come out to the next event.

This is the New York Shields Police Pipes and Drums--the best pipe band in the New York area (with all respect to my buddies in the legendary NYPD Emerald Society band)--marching out of the Bronx's Eastwood Manor, where the event was held.

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