New York, NY, April 06, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- On Saturday, April 5th, 2008, an 81 year old gentleman, 500 youngsters, and the NYC Police Department, will proudly march through the streets of New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood for the love of… community… and baseball. And what do they all have in common? Slain NYPD Police Officer Michael J. Buczek.
Opening Day for the Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Little League is always cause for excitement in this predominantly Dominican community. This year, the excitement is at a fever pitch as the 500 little ball players, and the NYC police that coach and mentor them, will be playing on a field with brand new astro-turf. And it is all due to determination of one man dedicated to make a difference in a crime riddled community…Ted Buczek, 81, Officer Buczek’s father.
On October 18, 1988, 24 year old Officer Michael J. Buczek was gunned down by Dominican drug lords in Washington Heights. Officer Buczek was dedicated to his job, the community, and most all, loved this community’s children. His needless death was mourned by the community, and his fellow officers, and most all, his family.
Ted Buczek, Michael’s father, was wracked with the grief at the needless loss of his son. But rather than allow that grief to consume him, as many parents would, Michael’s murder galvanized the WWII veteran into action waging war on drugs. Ted Buczek continued, in his son’s name and memory, and has worked 19 long years bridging the gap and building trust between residents and law enforcement assigned to serve it.
In 1988, Washington Heights was an epicenter of drug trade. Michael Buczek’s peers doubted that the native of Wayne, NJ would last cut it in the seamy neighborhood that saw 126 murders in 1988 in the 34th precinct alone. Residents, and the community at large, did not trust law enforcement and feared for their safety.
In 1989, after his son’s murder, Ted Buczek took action, and he began the Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Little League. Answering Buczek’s call for help, and working with the children, the police officers of the 34th precinct volunteered to coach and mentor the children of the community who lacked positive role models. Slowly but surely, the community began to change, and trust and bonds began to develop.
Ted Buzcek has tirelessly lobbied local, city, and state officials for the community and the League. Through his son’s foundation, he has fed the hungry, provided bonds for children’s continuing education, and dedicated his life to the betterment of the community. He has been a persistent fundraiser, and has never given up. Many of the League’s participants have come back to coach and mentor the next generation, and some have even gone on to careers in law enforcement.
“Mr. B”, as he is affectionately called by all who know and love him, is short, and slouched from severe arthritis. When he rides in a golf cart in the parade on Broadway, Washington Heights’ residents come out to kiss and thank him. He is in high demand to give commencement speeches at area schools. To the community, the NYPD, and the children that have come through the League, “Mr. B.” is a large man among men. The League serves over 500 children on 30 teams.
And on the 19th Annual Opening Day, Saturday, April 5, because of his efforts, "Mr.B." will see his dream come true, and watch the children of Washington Heights, coached by officers of the 34th precinct, playing on the state-of-the-art Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Field in Highbridge Park, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, in a safe community. A field of dreams for all.
When: Saturday, April 5, 2008 @ 11AM
Where: P.S. 48 Police Officer Michael J. Buczek School, 4360 Broadway
and Highbridge Park, Manhattan
For additional information contact:
Mary Jo Buczek
NYPD Sgt. John Moynihan
President, Michael J. Buczek Little League
NYPD 34th Precinct