When Nassau County Police Det. Sgt. Craig Croly was in the hospital fighting for his life in 2013, his wife, Marde, stayed by his side day and night.
“I didn’t think she ever left,” Croly, 49, said Thursday, crediting his family, friends and colleagues for his return to full duty in 2015. “Every time I opened my eyes, it didn’t matter when it was, she was there by my bedside.”
Croly, who had been diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitis and underwent multiple surgeries, was one of two Long Island police officers honored Thursday at a ceremony in Oyster Bay that recognizes law enforcement officers who, despite having experienced serious illness or injury, returned to the job and continued to provide outstanding service. Croly and Suffolk County Police Officer Vincent Pelliccio, 28, who battled back from testicular cancer, were named the 2019 recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Awards.
Named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who himself overcame debilitating asthma, the annual awards are presented to officers nationwide, said Tweed Roosevelt, chief executive officer of the association and the president’s great grandson.
Tweed Roosevelt, the officers’ families and friends, as well as police personnel, including Nassau and Suffolk’s police commissioners, gathered at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to celebrate Croly and Pelliccio.
“Certainly, the two recipients today represent this icon of commitment police officers have to the public and their willingness to overcome extraordinary challenges to continue working as police officers,” Tweed Roosevelt told the crowd gathered under a white tent. “And, for that, we’re all very appreciative.”
Each officer received a bust bearing Theodore Roosevelt’s likeness during the ceremony at Sagamore Hill, the 26th president’s home from 1885 until his death in 1919.
The accolades, the officers said, belong to their families, friends and colleagues who were there for them in their time of need. They helped out in big ways and in small ways, whether it was Croly’s friend walking his dog or Pelliccio’s sister doing homework by his side to keep him company.
Despite a heavy workload that included a full-time job, an internship and graduate school, Pelliccio said, his sister found time to sit with him when he underwent chemotherapy in 2017 so he wouldn’t be alone.
“My family and the police department were there for me,” said Pelliccio, who returned to work in March 2018. “No matter how busy people’s lives were, they always made time for me, and I’ll be forever grateful.”
Theodore Roosevelt Association Police Awards recipients
1995 Det. Lt. Robert R. Reed
1996 Det. Lt. Eugene Dolan
1997 Deputy Chief Micael F. Miglino
1998 Officer Allan J. Wicklund
1999 Officer James R. Graham
2000 Det. Brian F. Sullivan
2001 Det. Patrick J. Bellotti
2002 Det. Lieutenant Eric Jenkins
2003 Officer Theresa Cronin
2004 Officer James Read
2005 Officer Lee Krill
2006 Sgt. Michael O’Mara
2007 Officer Michael Schmitt
2008 Officer Edward Hartmann
2009 Sgt. John Mateer
2010 Officer Sharon Galvin
2011 Det. Sgt. Carmine E. Soldano
2012 Officer Jeffrey Ferguson
2013 Officer Peter Chuchul
2014 Officer Stephen Conlin
2015 Officer Mohit Arora
2016 Officer Nicholas Brando
2017 Officer Joseph Avanzato
2018 Officer Richard Rothwell
2019 Det. Sgt. Craig Croly
1995 Det. John P. Keane, Jr.
1996 Det. Robert T. Staab
1997 Lt. John J. Horan
1998 Officer Anthony T. Molfetta
1999 Det. James Hughes
2000 Officer Daniel Cunningham
2001 Officer Scott A. Farber
2002 Det. Robert J. Anderson
2003 Officer William R. Fairchild
2004 Officer Marlene Tully
2005 Officer Kathleen A. McGowan
2006 Det. Margaret Tatarian
2007 Det. Thomas McDougall
2008 Officer Kenneth Ripp
2009 Det. Robert Sehy
2010 Officer Michael Conklin
2011 Officer Thomas Wilson
2012 Deputy Inspector Kevin Fallon
2013 Det. Lt. Jack (John) Fitzpatrick
2014 Officer Thomas Tatarian
2015 Sgt. Andrew Kenneally
2016 Officer Mark Collins
2017 Officer Edward Gomez
2018 The late Det. William Maldonado
2019 Officer Vincent Pelliccio
Source: Theodore Roosevelt Association