A highway patrol car inscribed with “In Memory of Police Officer Michael J. Califano” sat outside the Massapequa Funeral Home’s South chapel Wednesday as the community continued to gather to show support for Califano's family.
Friends, family, neighbors and community members battled bitter cold and a wait of more than an hour to pay their respects to the who was killed in the line of duty on Friday.
“I’ve waited on this line for an hour and 15 minutes, but I would wait more,” one woman told Patch.
More than 2,000 servicemen and women stopped traffic on Merrick Road as they walked across from Massapequa High School to the funeral home. Representatives from Nassau and Suffolk County Police, New York State Troopers, Highway Patrol and various town officers, as well as representatives from an array of fire departments were ushered in to say goodbye to their fallen brother.
The outpouring of love was obvious as cards piled up and flowers were everywhere. Photos of Califano showed his beaming and contagious smile at different stages of his life; a child, a groom with his new wife, a young father, and a family leader.
“Mike was a great guy, a great person, and he will be sorely missed,” said one mourner, who wished not to be identified. “He was a dedicated father, always out with his kids, and a great husband. He was a role model for members of the community,” he added.
A source close to the family said that they have been coping as best as they can during this difficult time.
A funeral for Califano will take place on Thursday at 12 p.m. at in Seaford. A procession will pass the Wantagh home of the officer before proceeding to Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury for the burial.
In lieu of flowers, can be made in Califano’s name to St. Mary's Foundation for Children, 29-01 216th Street, Bayside, N.Y. 11360.