National Police Week has been recognized nationwide annually, and this year it was celebrated from May 14th to 20th. First Responders Lions Club hosted its first anniversary celebration on May 18th to recognize and highlight the tireless work first responders and advocates do to support and foster community development while bridging the gap between police and community.
First Responders LC was founded by NYPD Lieutenant Winston Willabus and his wife, Dimple Willabus, who felt that police officers needed more support and resources to navigate on the job and after retirement.
Lots of officers are also not taking care of their health and well-being as they should and by providing much-needed resources, they will be more effective while at work, within the communities they serve and at home.
Winston and Dimple gathered a group of 22 members to form the first of such organization within New York State.
First Responders LC membership consists of like-minded individuals from several business communities and within the first responders community. Some members are from the NYPD, NYS Corrections, Medical and Military. Members engage in many community activities and service projects throughout the year.Some of the organizations First Responders LC have supported are: Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Visions – Services for the Blind, Canine Companions and many more.
During the anniversary celebration, five well-deserved honorees were awarded for their contributions to their community and NYC: Founder of Blue Lives Matter NYPD Sergeant Joseph Imperatrice; NYPD Desi Society President Detective Ravi Narayan; Thank You NYPD Founder Anna Delfaus; Edward Schloeman, retired Chief Master Sergeant from the NY Air National Guard, Marine Vietnam Veteran and Founder of Operation Warrior Shield; and George Dixon, a retired United States Air Force Vietnam War hero, who is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of LaGuardia Airport and President of the NAACP Corona/East Elmhurst Chapter. All five honorees received citations from Senators Roxanne Persaud and Jessica Stanton, and Assemblywoman Jaime Williams’ offices.
Also being recognized was First Responders Leo Club President, 16-year-old Anaya Willabus. She received the Robert J. Uplinger award for her tireless work throughout the Lionistic year and her contributions and participation in District 20-K1 events and activities. Governor Elect Antonio Robles and 1st Vice District Governor elect Romeo Hitlall presented Leo Anaya with the award.
First Responders LC members also made a $500 donation to this year’s high school graduate, Leo Club member Justin Nuzzi.
Attending the anniversary Gala and awards were NYC Deputy Commissioner of Employee Relations Lisa White and NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, among other top officials.
Courtesy of First Responders Lions Club