Assistant Police Chief David Barrere, co-strategist and tactical command Queens South, was named Man of the Year March 13 at the 96th annual Communion Mass and Breakfast of the NYPD Brooklyn and Queens Holy Name Society. The ceremony also recognized 31 Cops of the Year for their heroic service, including five heroes who passed away last year.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was the main celebrant of the morning Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, Queens Village, which was attended by more than 1,000 uniformed members of the Holy Name Society and their families. Concelebrants included, Msgr. Robert Romano, deputy chief of chaplains; Msgr. David Cassato and Msgr. Joseph Zammit, police chaplains; Father John Michael Lee, C.P.; Father Patrick Longalong, Our Lady of Lourdes pastor; and Msgr. Robert Pawson, pastor emeritus.
In his homily, Bishop DiMarzio, spoke of justice and mercy. Reflecting on Lent and the Year of Mercy, he encouraged the NYPD officers to continue their pursuits.
“As police officers you are entrusted with the duty to keep society safe,” he said. “We know that your responsibilities are difficult and consist of putting your lives on the line every day.”
The bishop added that the officers, and all, are called to follow the laws of God, because in it “we find the balance between justice and mercy.” He ended his homily thanking the officers for their service and reminding them that they have the people’s respect and support.
After the Mass, New York’s Finest marched for half a mile along Springfield Blvd. to Antun’s for breakfast and an award ceremony.
At the breakfast, speakers talked about faith, courage and family. Msgr. Romano talked about how the department is like a family in that members are always there for one another, and would never forget their fallen heroes and their families. Scholarships were presented to the sons and daughters of police members.
Before presenting the Cop of the Year awards, Sgt. Edward Conroy, president of the Holy Name Society, shared tales of bravery, compassion and professionalism of the honorees, which included saving people from harm, stopping criminals, disarming a bomb, among others.
Then, mentors, partners and best friends talked about the police officers who had died last year, sharing stories of their top-notch work ethics, courage, care for others and their humanity. The honored officers were Lt. Marci Simms, Deputy Chief Steven Bonano, Det. Brian Moore, P.O. Edgar Ortiz and P.O. Royston Ferguson. Det. Moore, the 25-year-old officer who was shot while on patrol in Queens Village, was remembered as a phenomenal cop and a caring person.
Service awards were given to the Auxiliary Police Section – which includes 4,300 auxiliaries who volunteer one million hours of service each year – and the Boston Police Detectives’ Benevolent Association.
In accepting the Man of the Year award, Assistant Chief Barrere talked about his faith journey, his conversion to Catholicism and how one can see the work of God daily, if one pays attention.
“Every day, I see the men and women of this department going out and doing work that borders on miraculous,” he said.
He added he was humbled to be alongside the honorees that were being recognized by their works of bravery and with all other dedicated members of the department.
“When you put on that uniform and you serve the great people in this great city with honor, honesty and integrity, you are doing God’s work,” he said.
(Photos by Maria-Pia Negro Chin)