In July of 2021, the Caputo family, the NYPD, the Elmont (NY) community and Brothers Before Others lost a beloved husband, father, brother and Trustee, retired NYPD Police Officer Lenny Caputo.
While our members were keenly aware of how involved in his community Lenny was, especially as the President of the Sewanhaka Athletic Booster Club, it wasn’t until we all witnessed the overwhelming turnout from the local high school students at his memorial services that we truly understood the impact Lenny had. “The kids just kept coming”, BBO Founder/President Michael Burke stated. “To see the earned respect that Lenny had in the eyes of these teens..notoriously the most critical and hard to win over…spoke volumes about my friend. It was in that moment that I knew exactly how to honor his legacy.”
Spurred by the humbling tributes publicly paid to Lenny by the local youth, in October of 2021, BBO teamed with John Fette and Troy Mol of Fette Ford, located in Clifton, NJ, to establish the Lenny Caputo Memorial Scholarship Fund. This partnership was perfect for a number of reasons. Lenny had been a loyal customer of Fette Ford, having purchased countless vehicles there. More importantly, this was not the first time that the Fette family displayed their benevolence and appreciation for those who wear a shield.
In December of 2019, Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals was killed in the line of duty, leaving behind five children, the eldest, Hailey, being a student a Kean College (NJ). Having already been aware of Detective Seals’ sacrifice, when the Fette family heard about Hailey and the budget restrictions making her to and from to college difficult, they wasted no time stepping in and saving the day.
On February 13th, 2020, Hailey was taken Fette Ford in Clifton, NJ, under the guise that her parents were looking for a new car. Once there, she was seated in a vehicle that they were “looking at”. It was at that point that Hailey was made aware of the fact that, on behalf of Mr. Fette and Fette Ford, Troy was presenting HER with that car, free of charge, in honor of her father’s sacrifice that day and the sacrifice that she will now be making for the rest of her life.
So it surprised no one when John Fette and the Fette family offered to fund the Lenny Caputo Memorial Scholarship Fund. Headed by BBO Board Member (Ret) San Diego Police Sergeant Ken Fortier, joined by select BBO members, Troy Mol of Fette Ford and Lenny’s son, Antonio, the memorial fund committee reviewed several applications submitted by awardee hopefuls. In order to be eligible, the applicants must possess a 3.5 GPA or higher and be accepted to an accredited university or trade school. The two Sewanhaka High School students selected, both receiving a $2500 scholarship, were Mychell Ordonez-Lituma and Kamren Denhart.
Mychell will be attending The John Jay College of Criminal Justice at SUNY Farmingdale, with a plan to major in Forensic Psychology. Mychell has the long-term goal of then attending law school and becoming a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office.
Kamren has been accepted to St John’s University (NY), SUNY Cortland and SUNY Farmingdale. He plans on majoring in business finance with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur. In his application, Kamren had the following to say about Lenny:
“Mr. Caputo was a giving person. He was always present at our games and sporting events, giving back to the community. As the head of the Booster Club, he was always around; a familiar face that contributed in many ways to the growth and maintenance of all the athletic departments of our school through fund raisers and overseeing the collection of fees from the families. This enabled continued success and stability for all the different sport arenas that Sewanhaka High School has to offer. It’s, of course, fitting that a scholarship would be established in the memory of Mr. Caputo. The Brother’s Before Others Lenny Caputo Memorial Scholarship speaks to everything Mr. Caputo was. I can only hope to be just like him, one day, for my community. He will always be remembered and most definitely appreciated.”
Marilyn Heyward, the Pupil Personnel Services Chairperson at Sewanhaka High School wrote:
“Thank you for attending our Senior Award Ceremony. We truly appreciate working with you to identify students who embody the wonderful character that Mr. Caputo exemplified. We miss him dearly. We are so grateful that the Brothers Before Others foundation is committed to helping support our students with a scholarship in his name.”
It is often said in the law enforcement circle of those that have gone before us: “So long as they speak your name, you shall never die”. Lenny left a lasting impression on everyone he met. He was simply larger than life and his willingness to help anyone at a moments notice exemplified exactly what this charity and our members aspire to be. This memorial scholarship fund, in partnership with Fette Ford and the entire Fette family, will ensure that Lenny’s name is spoken in perpetuity; as it should be.
~ In Memory of our Beloved Brother ~
October 7,1972 – July 1, 2021
Fidelis Ad Mortem