The Nassau County Police Department christened its newest Marine Bureau boat Wednesday in honor of seven officers who died of 9/11-relatedillnesses.
The 39-foot Safe boat, named “9/11 Heroes,” was dedicated to Lt. Michael P. Shea and officers Brian R. Abbondandelo, Charles D. Cole Jr., Peter F. Curran, Peter Martino, Paul J. McCabe and Luis A. Palermo Jr. during a ceremony at the Wantagh Park boat ramp that included the officers’ family members cracking a bottle of Champagne over its bow.
“We promise you that we will never, ever forget our brothers and that we will never, ever forget all of you,” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder told dozens of family members and scores of police officers from across Long Island and the state.
The ceremony included a flyover by the department’s helicopter, a presentation of plaques to each family and a musical tribute by the Nassau County Police Emerald Society Pipe Band.
The boat, also known as Marine 11, joins the department’s five vessels currently in service. All are named after fallen officers.
Lt. Gregg Magnifico, the Marine Bureau’s commanding officer, said it’s a maritime tradition to name boats.
“I believe that person always looks down and takes care of that crew,” he said.
The boat was paid for in part with $750,000 of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant and $250,000 of Nassau County asset forfeiture funds, police spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun said.
Cole’s parents, Marguerite and Charles, and his children, Meagan and Matthew, said he died in 2011 of a rare form of brain cancer that resulted from spending a month at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Cole, 49, of Wantagh, worked at the Seaford-based Seventh Precinct in the highway patrol and in emergency services during his 24 years in the department. The emergency services truck he drove is also named for him and his father wore a hat from the unit during Wednesday’s ceremony.
“It’s like bringing him forward to us again,” Charles Cole, 79, of Medford, said after the ceremony. “It’s like he’s with us again.”
Marguerite Cole, 77, said her family appreciates the recognition.
“We know that he will never be forgotten and that tugs at my heart,” she said.