The following are Mayor Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery this morning at the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Staten Island:
“Thank you, Father Wozny. The storm that swept through our region last week took a tragic toll on our city – and it took the life of a young man full of extraordinary promise.
“Jozef and Irena, Lisa, Marta, Agata and Rafal, friends and family: you have my deepest condolences, and my heart goes out to all of you.
“I wasn’t lucky enough to know Artie in life – but I’ve gotten a chance to learn about him from those who did. Ask anyone about Artie and the first thing people mention is: he was always smiling. No matter the circumstances. The more you get to know about him, the more you understand why he was that way:
“He loved his life.
“He loved his family – they meant the world to him, and they always came first.
“He loved his girlfriend – ask his fellow officers: he talked about Lisa every day.
“He loved his job, loved his partner, loved being a part of the NYPD, and he loved New York City. He wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
“And from what I hear, he especially loved a cold Miller High Life at Walker’s after a shift.
“When Artie was reassigned recently and had to go through scooter training, a lot of guys he didn’t personally know recognized him. But he knew why: it’s because for a long time, there was a huge poster in the staircase at the Police Academy describing the 3 C’s: crime fighting, counter-terrorism and community relations.
“And on that poster, along with the text, was a huge picture of Artie.
“Every recruit had to walk by that poster. You couldn’t miss him.
“So Artie became somewhat of a celebrity. People used to tease him that he was the ‘poster boy of the department.’ Well, in a lot of ways that’s true.
“If you’re a police officer, you couldn’t ask for a better teammate. If you’re a New Yorker, you couldn’t ask for a better person to be serving our city.
“He was the kind of guy who could work an overtime shift, then be told he had to do another, and just take it in stride, with a smile on his face. He worked hard, never complained, always stayed positive, and was always ready to take one for the team.
“And he was proud to be a part of the NYPD. In fact, he often tried to talk his friends into joining the Finest.
“He got a big thrill out of walking through the crowds in Times Square one New Year’s Eve to find a buddy he’d talked into joining the NYPD, so he could tell him how proud he was of him.
“And that attitude rubbed off on the people around him – it lifted them up when they were down and gave them strength to do the tough work that our Finest do, day in and day out, to keep our city safe.
“He had all the things that make an exemplary officer: courage, responsibility, initiative. He didn’t wait for others to take action. Officers like him are the reason this is the safest big city in the nation.
“He would also do anything to protect his family – and he did.
“After a tragedy like this, we struggle to make sense of what’s happened. We feel powerless, helpless with grief.
“Well, there is something we can do – we can follow Artie’s example. We can be strong in the face of adversity, patient, positive, and supportive of one another. We can look at a tough situation, make the best of it, and smile.
“Doing that is the best tribute we can pay to the memory of this remarkable young man – and I think it’s what he would have wanted.
“Thanksgiving is just around the corner – and I know it’s going to be a very tough time for the people hit hardest by the storm, especially for those who lost a loved one. But I know one thing I’ll be thankful for: the fact that there are New Yorkers like Artie Kasprzak.
“People who are willing to put it all on the line to protect the rest of us, who show courage and leadership when its needed most, and who can face life with a smile, no matter what’s thrown at them.
“May God bless Artur Kasprzak and everyone he loved. And may God bless and protect the NYPD.”