On the Avenue: Kiwanis Club fetes ‘Finest’ with award named for late chief

They back the blue!

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge gathered “on the avenue” recently for a very special salute to New York’s “Finest,” during which club members sponsored an evening of dinner and cigars for dozens of members of the NYPD.

The club’s annual NYPD Appreciation Night took place March 21 at El Caribe Caterers, 5945 Strickland Ave. This year’s event served as a tribute to the life and service of former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, who passed away earlier this year from brain cancer. Photos of Esposito enjoying last year’s event were displayed throughout the room.

As part of the tribute, Ben-Bay Kiwanis was proud to present the inaugural Chief Joseph Esposito Leadership By Example Award to retired Deputy Chief Salvatore Carcaterra. Current Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey was there to present the award alongside Esposito’s brother Michael, and Ben-Bay board member and event organizer Brian Long.

Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge member Donald Conceicao (far left), board member Brian Long (second from left) and board member James Orlando (fifth from left) welcome NYPD Assistant Chief Charles McEvoy, former state Sen. Marty Golden and NYPD Det. Steve Agosta (left to right).

“It’s the perfect name for an award to be presented in Joe’s honor,” Long said. “That’s the type of man he was, always leading from the front, never from behind, and always setting an example for others.”

Maddrey was effusive in his praise for his predecessor, calling Esposito the best chief of department there will ever be. He called Carcaterra the perfect choice to be the award’s inaugural recipient.

When Carcaterra took to the podium to receive the award, he was overcome.

“It’s not often that I’m humbled and speechless, and actually I was both when I found out I was getting this award,” he told the crowd.

Of course, he also shared some humorous and inspiring stories about his time working with and learning from “Espo,” as he was affectionately known among the force.

Kiwanians surround NYPD officials and award recipient Deputy Chief Salvatore Carcaterra (ret.) at the NYPD Appreciation Night event.

Long said he plans to present the award to an outstanding officer in Esposito’s name as part of the annual event moving forward.

“It’s so important to honor the men and women who protect us on a daily basis,” he said. “As Kiwanians, we are proud to sponsor officers from throughout the borough to come to this event and enjoy dinner, drinks and camaraderie. It’s the least we can do to say thank you.”

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