Neighborhood heroes got a warm welcome as the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) honored its firefighter of the year, police officer of the year, and auxiliary police officer of the year at a ceremony during the group’s April meeting.
Gathered in the auditorium at the Norwegian Christian Home, 1250 67th Street, on Tuesday, April 25, BRCC members and community members feted the trio — retired Firefighter James McGuire, a Bay Ridge resident who served with Ladder 114 in Sunset Park; Detective Robert Rivera of the 68th Precinct in Bay Ridge; and Auxiliary Police Officer Zenon Dabrowski, also of the 68th Precinct.
McGuire served 40 years with the FDNY, “his true calling in life,” according to FDNY Captain Chris Livolsi, retiring earlier this month from Ladder 114 where he had been stationed since 1981.
“Jimmy helped protect the lives and property of the citizens of New York City during some of the most devastating events in recent New York City history,” Livolsi stressed. These include “the fiscal crisis and soaring number of fires that plagued the city in the 1970s, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the department’s efforts during Superstorm Sandy,” he went on, adding that McGuire had been “awarded the role of merit for his actions in 1989 and 1994 for his dedication and bravery.”
Rivera, who joined the 68th Precinct in 2012, began his NYPD career in the 61st Precinct, and was assigned in 2007 to the Organized Crime Bureau where he “investigated cases involving prostitution, illegal gambling, sale of illegal cigarettes, fireworks and narcotics,” said Captain Joseph Hayward, the 68th Precinct’s commanding officer, adding that, while with the bureau, Rivera “executed and took part in numerous search warrants, leading to hundreds of arrests.”
That trend continued at the 68th Precinct, where Rivera, said Hayward, “was assigned to the precinct’s anti-crime team, investigating narcotics, weapons and robberies. Among his 580 arrests, the most notable involve that of an individual in the Prince Hotel for weapons and narcotics possession, individuals on 89th Street near Ridge Boulevard for robbery, individuals on 72nd Street and Eighth Avenue for firearms possession, and an individual for menacing another person with a butcher knife.”
The 67-year-old Dabrowski, who joined the 68th Precinct auxiliaries in April, 2014, has already logged over 1,000 volunteer hours, noted Hayward, all while working toward naturalization as a U.S. citizen, having emigrated to this country from Poland in August, 1994.
“It’s an honor to recognize the police and firefighters in this district,” said Jane Kelly, one of the chairs of BRCC’s Police & Fire Awards Committee. “We realize that when you go to work, you never know what you are going to face. That’s why it’s a pleasure to honor police officers, firefighters and auxiliary police officers each year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank you and express our appreciation for what you do everyday.”