Sunset Park

Sunset Park leaders give cops coins in show of support

February 19, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sunset Park BID President Llamil Nunez, (left) and Executive Director Renee Giordano recently presented a “challenge coin” to 72nd Precinct Capt. Tommy Ng. Photos courtesy of Sunset Park BID

When Sunset Park business and civic leaders wanted to show support for the cops in their local precinct, the 72nd, in the wake of the assassinations of detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, they put their money where their mouths were…literally.

Tony Giordano, founder of the group Sunset Park Restoration, and his wife Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District, pooled the resources of their two organizations to commission a commemorative coin to present to each and every cop at the 72nd Precinct.

The Precinct covers Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace.

Tony Giordano designed the currency and Renee Giordano convinced the BID’s Board of Directors to pay for the coins to be manufactured.

Commemorative coins are often referred to by cops as “challenge coins,” and the Giordanos decided to follow suit and name their gift “challenge coins.” Challenge coins are popular in police circles with many officers maintaining collections from various policing events.

Leaders of Sunset Park BID and Sunset Park Restoration planned to present the challenge coins to each officer at the precinct during roll calls for the different shifts; at 7 a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. at the stationhouse at 830 Fourth Ave. on Feb. 20.

The front of the coin depicts a shield with the words “Sunset Park.” The back of the coin contains a poem.

“Bless our police. Keep them safe both day and night. Give them strength and courage to enforce all that is good,” it reads.

Renee Giordano and Sunset Park BID President Llamil Nunez have already presented a coin to Capt. Tommy Ng, the precinct’s commanding officer.

“I’ve given them out in a couple of places and the officers have been very excited about it. No community group has ever done anything like this before,” Renee Giordano told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday. “They’re very touched by the show of support.”

The BID represents more than 350 property owners and merchants on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park between 38th and 64th streets.

Following the tragic deaths of Liu and Ramos, who were gunned down by an assassin on Dec. 20, members of Sunset Parker, a public group on Facebook, expressed a desire to show their support for the police patrolling the streets of their neighborhood.

After a discussion on social media, it was decided that commemorative coins were the best idea. The discussion on Facebook led to the involvement of Sunset Park Restoration, whose leaders, including Tony Giordano, contacted Sunset Park BID to see about collaborating with the business community on the project.

The final design was completed and sent to a coin manufacturer.

“I think it will help boost the morale of the officers of the precinct,” Renee Giordano said.

In addition to the challenge coins, the cops will also be presented with letters of support from students at local schools, including P.S. 1, P.S. 69, P.S. 516 and Saint Agatha catholic School.

“I was really touched by the letters the kids wrote. They didn’t just tear out sheet of loose-leaf paper and write quick notes. They put their hearts into it and wrote beautiful letters,” the BID executive director said.