Northeast Times

A holiday tradition

  • Spreading the love: Linda and Dominic Lorenzo, the wife and son of the late Officer Brian Lorenzo, meet officers at their Somerton home. They were presented with Thanksgiving baskets yesterday morning. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

  • Below, police officers visit the families of fallen officers throughout Philadelphia and present them with Thanksgiving food. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

About 100 po­lice cruis­ers with lights flash­ing and horns honk­ing pulled off of Roosevelt Boulevard, onto Southamp­ton Road and then onto Carter Road in Somer­ton on Tues­day morn­ing. But it wasn’t the world’s biggest car chase.

Rather, dozens of Phil­adelphia of­ficers and many of their col­leagues from throughout the re­gion were on the way to Linda Lorenzo’s house to de­liv­er an early Thanks­giv­ing to her fam­ily.

Lorenzo is the wife of slain Phil­adelphia high­way patrol­man Bri­an Lorenzo, who was murdered by a drunk­en driver on In­ter­state 95 on Ju­ly 8, 2012. Hers was one of 11 fam­il­ies of fallen po­lice of­ficers that the cara­van of blue planned to vis­it yes­ter­day and today, bring­ing meals and heart­felt grat­it­ude for their ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fices.

“It’s about nev­er for­get­ting,” said Steven J. Weiler, vice pres­id­ent of Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5, the city’s po­lice uni­on. “We keep them in our hearts, minds and pray­ers all the time.”

The FOP, the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment and at­tor­ney James Binns — a long­time po­lice ad­voc­ate — have been col­lab­or­at­ing on sim­il­ar hol­i­day tours since 2008. Each year, they vis­it the homes of fallen po­lice sur­viv­ors for East­er, Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas.

“This is the hard­est time of the year for them,” Weiler said. “The city and the FOP are mak­ing the ef­fort to make the hol­i­day sea­son more com­fort­able for them. This is the least we could do for the sac­ri­fices they make.”

The cara­van planned to vis­it the fam­il­ies of five slain of­ficers, plus one re­cently wounded of­ficer on Tues­day, then six more fam­il­ies today. The of­ficers in­cluded:

• Sgt. Steph­en Liczb­in­ski, who was shot and killed while re­spond­ing to a Port Rich­mond bank rob­bery on May 3, 2008. He was 39 and a 12-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer Bri­an Lorenzo, who was struck and killed on his po­lice mo­tor­cycle by a drunk­en driver on In­ter­state 95 near Cottman Av­en­ue on Ju­ly 8, 2012. He was 48 and a 23-year vet­er­an.

• Cpl. Chris­toph­er Milito of the Delaware River Port Au­thor­ity Po­lice, who was struck and killed by a vehicle while in­vest­ig­at­ing an ac­ci­dent on the Walt Whit­man Bridge. He was 40 and a 16-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer Gary Sker­ski, who was shot and killed while re­spond­ing to a rob­bery at Pat’s Cafe in North­wood on May 8, 2006. Sker­ski was 46 and a 16-year vet­er­an.

• Lt. Joseph Szczerba of the New Castle County Po­lice (Del.) De­part­ment, who suffered a fatal stab wound of the neck while strug­gling with a dis­orderly con­duct sus­pect on Sept. 16, 2011. He was 44 and an 18-year vet­er­an.

• Troop­er Richard Des­kis of the Delaware State Po­lice, who is re­cov­er­ing from a gun­shot wound of the arm that he suffered on Nov. 20 when an un­seen gun­man opened fire on him as he in­vest­ig­ated a theft in a Wilm­ing­ton park­ing lot. Des­kis, 44, is a 17-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer Moses Walk­er, who was shot and killed while try­ing to sub­due two armed rob­bers at 20th Street and Cecil B. Moore Av­en­ue. Walk­er was off-duty at the time, but took po­lice ac­tion in re­sponse to the threat. He was 40 and a 19-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer John Pawlowski, who was shot and killed while re­spond­ing to a dis­turb­ance between an un­li­censed cab driver and a gun­man at Broad Street and Ol­ney Av­en­ue on Feb. 13, 2009. He was 25 and a five-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer Chuck Cas­sidy, who was shot and killed when he walked up on an armed rob­bery in pro­gress in­side a Dunkin’ Donuts at Broad Street and 66th Av­en­ue on Oct. 31, 2007. He was 54 and a 25-year vet­er­an.

• Sgt. Timothy Simpson, who was killed when an in­tox­ic­ated driver in a stolen car struck the of­ficer’s po­lice cruis­er at Al­legheny and Ara­mingo av­en­ues in Port Rich­mond. Simpson was on the way to an un­re­lated rob­bery call at the time. He was 46 and a 20-year vet­er­an.

• Of­ficer Isa­bel Naz­ario, who was killed when a mo­tor­ist in a stolen SUV, who was flee­ing po­lice, struck her po­lice cruis­er at 39th and Wal­lace streets. Naz­ario was 40 and an 18-year vet­er­an.

• Sgt. An­drew Stack­wicz, who suffered a heart at­tack while on duty in North Phil­adelphia on Sept. 26, 2008, after a foot pur­suit. He died while hos­pit­al­ized for his in­jur­ies on Oct. 13, 2008. Stack­wicz was 57 and a 26-year vet­er­an.

In ad­di­tion, the FOP, Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment and Binns hos­ted oth­er fam­il­ies of fallen of­ficers for break­fast this morn­ing at Green Val­ley Coun­try Club in La­fay­ette Hill. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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