The sacrifice made by late Wantagh resident Charles D. Cole Jr. spending numerous hours assisting at the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 was recognized during a solemn memorial ceremony Thursday.
Cole's name was added to a memorial garden in front of Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) headquarters in Mineola Thursday that recognizes officers who made the supreme sacrifice. Cole was a longtime NCPD officer as well as a volunteer with the and Medford fire departments cancer at age 49 last August. New York State recently designated his death as in the line of duty since the exposure to carcinogens from debris at the World Trade Center site is was determined to have caused his deadly cancer.
"Officer Cole's dedication to a life of service extended beyond the Nassau County Police Department," said Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas V. Dale during Thursday's memorial service. "Police Officer Cole has described by his friends as having a heart of gold."
The ceremony honoring Cole also recognized all deceased members of the Nassau County Police Department. The event, which was held in celebration of Police Week in Nassau County, featured a placement of floral tributes for all 32 NCPD members who made the supreme sacrifice. The Nassau County Police Memorial, which was first dedicated on May 12, 1982, features a massive stone monolith that displays two Bronze plaques.
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"These were the men and women you wanted as your friend, neighbor and most importantly police officers," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano during Thursday's memorial service referring to those officers who were lost in the line of duty.
Another fallen NCPD officer from Wantagh recognized during Thursday's memorial service was Michael Califano, who was killed on Feb. 5, 2011 during a routine traffic stop on the Long Island Expressway after a flatbed from behind.
"It is my hope that everyone will walk away with a deeper appreciation for all law enforcement and the sacrifices we have made on behalf of the public that we serve," said Commissioner Dale. "God bless the Cole family for their loss, God bless the Nassau County Police Department and God Bless the United States of America."