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Newsday photographer wins Front Page Award for photo of slain police officer's family

Lisa Tuozzolo and her sons, Austin, left, and

Lisa Tuozzolo and her sons, Austin, left, and Joseph, react as the officers that responded as backup the day her husband was killed in the line of duty are honored with the Medal of Honor at One Police Plaza in Manhattan on June 4. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

Newsday photographer Alejandra Villa Loarca has won a Front Page Award for her emotional photo of a mother embracing her sons during an NYPD ceremony.

Villa Loarca was recognized in the breaking-news category for her photo, dubbed “Medal Day.” Her picture captured the Tuozzolos of Huntington, who were grieving from the loss of family patriarch NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo.

In the June 4 photo of the award ceremony where her late husband's colleagues were recognized for responding to the scene the day he was fatally shot, Lisa Tuozzolo fights back tears as she embraces her two sons, Austin and Joseph, in each arm. In the photo, Lisa holds her right hand on her son's Austin's chest. Lisa's left arm is on Joseph's back while he hugs his mother at her waist.

John Keating, Newsday’s assistant managing editor of photography, said Villa Loarca’s photo portrayed the humanity of police work.

“It is a tremendous honor for Alejandra to be recognized by The Newswomen’s Club of New York. Her picture shows the Tuozzolo family’s courage and strength as they cope with the devastation of losing a beloved husband and father,” he said.

This is the third consecutive year Villa Loarca has been recognized with the prestigious award.

In 2018, Villa Loarca won in the feature category for her image, “Songs of Praise.” Her photo captured a gospel group during a church service honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Villa Loarca also won in 2017 in the breaking-news category for her photo of parents mourning at their son’s funeral.

The nonprofit The Newswomen's Club of New York sponsors the award ceremony honoring journalistic excellence by newswomen in print, broadcasting, wire services photography and online.

The 82nd annual awards will be presented Nov. 7 at a black-tie gala at the Down Town Association in Manhattan. In a statement, officials said, this year’s awards theme was “Speaking Truth to Power” and focused on reporting involving disenfranchised groups. Some of the work documented by winning recipients included segregation in New York City public schools, Native American women who face high rates of sexual violence and domestic abuse, and black Americans who fought to make the country’s founding ideals a reality, officials said.

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