Hundreds of people from all over the country gathered in Jersey City, NJ on Saturday to honor loved ones and family members who had been lost in the line of duty, through the Walk To Remember. The assembled crowd was addressed by numerous honored guests including family members of Jersey City PD Lt Christopher Robateau, Jersey City PD Detective Melvin Santiago, Jersey City PD Detective Marc DiNardo, Detroit PD Police Officer Darren Weathers.
With the majestic New York City skyline as the backdrop, the event began with the presentation of colors by the Port Authority Police Department Honor Guard, followed by the National Anthem sung by Port Authority Police Officer Gil Ramos, a moment of silence and a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace by the Port Authority Pipes and Drums.
Philadelphia Police Officer and forensic sketch artist Jonathan Castro (Jonny Castro Art) attended as well and presented portraits to both the Webb family and the Mautone family. PAPD Nathaniel Webb was killed on 9/11/01 while responding to the World Trade Center attacks. Receiving the portrait in his honor were PO Webb’s daughter, Valeri, and his granddaughter Pamela. PAPD Eamonn Mautone was killed on 12/29/2015, at the age of 25 and with less than one full year as a police officer, in an motor vehicle accident. Receiving the portrait in his honor were PO Mautone’s father (Ret FBI) Ed, his mother Bridget as well as several of PO Mautone’s academy classmates.
Representatives from the Silverstrom Group, a dental group located in Livingston, NJ, were also on hand, as show of further support, to present dental coverage for life to a chosen surviving family, in this case, Valeri and Pamela Webb.
Jersey City Police Chief Daniel Sollitti presented Rose Robateau with the patrol hat of her late husband, JCPD Christopher Robateau, who was killed on 01/05/2018 while checking on a stranded motorist. The patrol hat still contained a picture of Lt Robateau’s family on the inside.
Despite having one officer fatally wounded earlier this month and one still fighting for her life, Dallas Police Sergeant and Dallas Fallen Officers Foundation President Demetrick Pennie attended the walk, along with 20+ officers and family members from his department/area, including father of Dallas Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa, who was killed on 7/7/2016, along with 4 other officers, in a calculated sniper-style attack.
The mother of Detroit Police Officer Darren Weathers, killed in a motor vehicle accident on 2/13/18, drove all the way from Detroit, along with 6 other family members, to honor her son and to make sure everyone knew just who her son was. Chonita reminded everyone that, not only was her son the Vice President of his academy class, but he was also a Army combat veteran. She also let everyone know that she has started a non-profit foundation, the ‘IDREAM with Darren Foundation’ in her son’s honor to continue the work that he started.
Union leaders and command staff from all over the area, from all fraternal organizations, including NYPD PBA President Pat Lynch, attended and united in the common cause of assuring all those in attendance that, no matter what affiliation we have, no matter what department we work for and no matter what patch we have on our sleeve, no one’s sacrifice will ever be forgotten.