The NYPD awarded two officers from Long Island Tuesday with the Medal of Honor, the department’s highest commendation, but only one survived to receive it in person.
In an annual Medal Day ceremony before a large crowd outside police headquarters and made more meaningful because of the terrorist massacre in Orlando, Florida, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner William Bratton gave the family of Det. Brian Moore the medallion posthumously while Officer Kenneth Healey received the same award.
Moore, 25, of North Massapequa, died on May 4, 2015, after he was shot two days earlier during a street encounter in Jamaica, Queens. Moore had spotted a suspect walking with an object in his waistband when he left his patrol car to approach the man, who then suddenly shot him. His parents Irene and Raymond Moore received their son’s medal.
Healey of Oceanside, was seriously injured by a disturbed man who attacked the officer and his partners with a hatchet during a routine sidewalk patrol on October 23, 2014. Suffering major head injuries from an attack police labeled an act of terrorism, Healey survived and is now back on limited duty. Three of Healey’s fellow officers, who rushed him to the hospital in a patrol car, received Police Combat Cross medals. The attacker was shot dead.
Also decorated posthumously with the Medal of Honor was Det. Randolph Holder, who was shot dead while on patrol last October near East 102nd Street and First Avenue in Manhattan.
A total of 53 officers, many of whom died recently from illnesses attributed to their work during the September 11 attacks, received medals.
De Blasio referenced the Orlando attack by noting the city’s special responsibility to protect the nation from terrorists after the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, and in the face of the illnesses continuing to take a toll on the NYPD.
”Despite these losses, we never succumbed to the pain, we were never intimidated, we did not allow terrorists to change who we are,” de Blasio said.
Bratton, who frequently refers to the words of historical figures in his speeches, paraphrased those of Adm. William “Bull” Halsey, the celebrated World War II naval commander.
“There are no great men, there are only ordinary men who in response to extraordinary challenges do great things,” Bratton said. “Today we honor men and women, whose response to extraordinary challenges, did great things.”
Officials said Healey, 26, was feeling fatigued and couldn’t attend a planned media availability. But his three partners — officers Taylor Kraft, Peter Rivera and Joseph Meeker — told reporters they were honored to get the medals but concerned that acts of terror are still inflicted on the nation.
“It is scary but this is the job we signed up for,” Meeker said.