A small token of appreciation goes a long way.
After the deaths of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, Sunset Park residents wanted to show officers of the 72nd Precinct their support and appreciation and did just that in the form of a coin. On Friday, February 20, members of Sunset Park Restoration (SPR) and the Sunset Park BID made their way to the station house three separate times in a single day to present challenge coins to every police officer.
The idea of how to commemorate support for the officers stemmed from the Sunset Parker Facebook page led by Tony Giordano, who is executive director of SPR.
On Facebook, people were trying to finding a way to do something positive for the officers,” said Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park BID. “The precinct does a good job and we wanted to be able to thank them. At first we thought about giving out pins, but officers can’t carry or wear them. Then a few of them mentioned coins. We started looking into it and Tony started designing coins specifically for it and I mentioned it to captain. He said it was great.”
Once Renee mentioned the idea to the BID’s Board of Directors they stepped up to help fund the gifts. They quickly ordered hundreds of the coins.
Renee first distributed the coins at the precinct’s February Community Council meeting. Captain Thomas Ng was appreciative of the gesture.
“Having these challenge coins being made, I really didn’t know what to say,” Ng said. “We never receive anything like this from anyone. In my 18-year career in the Police Department, I’ve been to 10 different command sites. We’ve been given doughnuts and typical cop things. But no one ever went out of their way to think about making a design for a coin and the kind words on it. On behalf of the 72nd Precinct.
Over the course of the day, three ceremonies were held during roll call: at 7a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. Every officer received the gift, and according to Police Officer Dean Hanan, they were excited to receive them.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “It’s very heartfelt and was taken well by guys.”
Although challenge coins are typically given to honor police organizations, Hanan described the gift as ‘out of the ordinary’ for communities to distribute.
“This is something you can carry with you to let you know we care about you and the work you do for us,” Renee said during the afternoon roll call. “When things get rough, you can touch it and know that we’re behind you.”