NEW YORK – Greek-American police officer Anastasios Tsakos, who died while on duty in April 2021, when he was struck and killed by a car driven by a woman under the influence of alcohol, while regulating traffic on the Long Island Expressway, was posthumously honored by New York City and the NYPD.
In particular, the widow of the 43-year-old Greek-American, Irene Tsakos was presented on his behalf with the NYPD Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor awarded to a police officer on the force after death.
In a highly emotionally charged ceremony, the Medal of Honor was presented by New York Mayor Eric Adams – who previously served as a police officer – and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell in recognition of the self-sacrifice and contributions of Anastasios Tsakos.
“There are days when you wonder why I do this job, why I put myself in danger every day?” Adams wondered. “We do it because we believe in it. We do it because we know that what stands between safety and those who want to destroy our city, are the heroes we recognize today,” said the mayor of New York.
It should be noted that Anastasios Tsakos passed away on the day of Holy Tuesday of 2021, when 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais from Hempstead stepped on the accelerator and fatally injured him. She tried to escape, but was later arrested and remanded in custody pending criminal charges before the Queens Supreme Court. The unfortunate police officer, who was beloved by all who knew him, served for 14 years in the NYPD and was a family man, leaving behind two small children, aged 7 and 4 today.
The funeral service for Anastasios Tsakos was held at St. Paraskevi Church in Greenlawn, NY, in the presence of then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the leadership of the NYPD, and His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
“Fighting” since 2017
The second police officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor at the same event, 40-year-old Dash Veve, eventually overcame the risk to his life, but still faces serious problems today.
This is a uniformed person who, in 2017, was struck by a suspect’s vehicle in Brooklyn, resulting in a serious head injury. The doctors managed to save him, but they made it clear from the beginning that he has a long way to go to improve his quality of life. Five years after the incident, Veve, who lives in North Baldwin, is struggling to recover, but managed to attend this great moment of recognition, even in a wheelchair.
According to Newsday, the perpetrator of the incident that caused Veve’s serious injury was a teenager who was driving a stolen car. He was arrested shortly afterwards by the authorities and was brought to justice on charges of attempted murder.
Four other police officers were honored with the NYPD Combat Cross, while other distinctions were awarded to a total of 35 uniformed personnel.
Queens lawmakers also recognized the late Anastasios Tsakos with the renaming of an overpass on the Long Island Expressway (LIE) in his honor. New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic on May 19, “announced the eventual renaming of the LIE overpass located at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as ‘Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge,’” QNS.com reported, adding that Stavisky and Rozic were joined by Tsakos’ widow Irene Tsakos, various units of the New York City Police Department, the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York President Patrick Lynch, and members of the local community for the event at St. Francis Preparatory in Fresh Meadows to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Tsakoss untimely death.
“For more than a decade, Detective Tsakos served our city and helped keep our neighborhoods safe. He was a loving son and father who is survived by his wife and two children,” Stavisky said, QNS reported. “It is fitting that we rename this overpass in his honor. The Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge will not only keep his memory alive but will also serve as a reminder of his heroism and line-of-duty death.”
“Today’s gathering to memorialize his heroic life is a clear reflection of the love and respect felt for him, and I am grateful for the opportunity to honor his memory and service to New Yorkers with the renaming of the Fresh Meadows LIE overpass as Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge,” Rozic said, QNS reported.
Tsakos “was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective,” QNS reported, noting that “to honor his memory, the lawmakers have introduced legislation in their respective houses to rename the LIE overpass located at Francis Lewis Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway as ‘Detective Anastasios Tsakos Memorial Bridge’” and “the legislation passed the state Senate and is moving through the committee in the Assembly.”
“Once passed and signed into law, the New York State Department of Transportation can proceed with the installation of signage along with the LIE,” QNS reported, adding that “over the past month, several gatherings have occurred to honor Tsakos, including a plaque and motorcycle sidecar dedication and renaming of the wellness center and gym at Highway Unit 3.”