For seven-year-old Anthony Rojas, Tuesday, Aug. 14 was a memorable day. The Make-A-Wish Foundation arranged for Anthony to meet both NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and state Sen. Marty Golden. And the city was in good hands as O’Neill named Anthony “Commissioner for a Day,” and Golden designated him “Senator for a Day.”
Early in the day, Anthony, a Batman and Superman fan, visited with O’Neill and expressed his dream is to be a police officer.
In the afternoon, the brave young boy fighting a rare respiratory disease, had the opportunity to spend time with Golden, who presented him with a Certificate of Merit from the state Senate for his strength and courage.
The boy, who lives in Woodside, Queens, was accompanied by his mother Lucy Ramirez, his father Darwin Rojas, his grandmother and his baby brother.
Anthony was diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition that affects the lungs. He has trouble breathing and wears a device that allows him to breathe better. As of now, the young man is too ill to qualify for a lung transplant, but his family is hoping that with the proper care he may be able to in the near future.
Police Officer Anthony Passaro carried the boy into Golden’s office and introduced him to the state senator, who immediately high-fived the young boy and let him sit behind his desk.
Passaro, along with Lieutenant Louis Nunes, commanding officer of Brooklyn Outreach, and Sgt. Zagham Abbas arranged Anthony’s visit to Golden’s office.
“We were linked to Anthony and his family through St. Mary’s Hospital for Children and the social workers that we have a connection to,” Passaro told this paper. “Anthony loves superheroes and he loves the NYPD, so we swore him in this morning as an official member of the service and it’s been a great day for him so far.”
Passaro said people don’t realize how much working with kids like Anthony means to the officers.
“You know people often say that it’s so amazing what the team does for these kids, but what people don’t realize is what these kids do for us,” Passaro said. “It’s the faith, the hope and the strength that they have that in turn makes us stronger and makes us better people.”
Nunes said that the reason he joined the NYPD was to help people. “Helping a kid like Anthony actually warms my heart,” Nunes told this paper. “It makes me feel good at night knowing that during my workday I did something good.”
Golden, a former police officer, knelt down beside Anthony and proclaimed him Senator for a Day.
“You are Senator Anthony Rojas,” Golden said, “our senator here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn representing the state of New York.”
Golden gave Anthony a Superman costume, calling him a true superhero. He also gifted him with various games, superhero action figures, pins and a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball cap.
“He’s playing with superheroes, but what he doesn’t realize is that he is a superhero, and that’s what’s important,” Golden said. “You are better than Batman, you are better than Superman, you are Anthony and you are a star.”
Anthony quickly began opening his presents. Golden praised the community affairs officers for their work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“You are all doing an outstanding job,” Golden said. “When you can bring some of this type of relief and some good times to a great family like this and to a great young man like Anthony, that’s what it’s all about. This boy is a walking miracle today and God willing he’s going to be a walking miracle in the future.”