Retired Emergency Man’s Association
On Monday, June 06, 2005, the NYPD Emerald Society held their general meeting at the St. Andrew R. C. Church hall in lower Manhattan. The following is brief account of a portion of that meeting.
As he addressed the audience, NYPD Emerald Society President Michael Murphy first read a brief account of Patrolman Patrick J. O’Connor, who was a cop in Emergency Service Truck-1. He was also an Emerald Board Officer, as well as a member of the NYPD Pipe & Drum Band’s Color Guard. While on patrol in 1973, and assisting a motorist on a Brooklyn highway, his police vehicle was struck in the rear by an oil truck. Ptl. O’Connor was killed by the impact. He left behind his wife, Ann, and four young children. The Emerald Society Medal was later renamed in his honor, and is awarded annually in his memory.
In 1981, Patrolman Richie Powers, assigned to Emergency Service Squad 1, was awarded the prestigious NYPD Emerald Society’s Patrolman Patrick J. O’Connor Medal for heroism. He and Paddy were friends and partners for many years in ESS 1. Richie, who has relocated to California, recently lost this medal in a devastating fire in his home. And he no doubt felt this loss was irreplaceable. Pat O’Connor was his buddy, as they had both worked together, and Richie had remained a true friend to the O’Connors throughout these many years. On this night, with Mrs. Ann O’Connor assisting, a newly minted O’Connor Medal was presented to Richie Powers, who was back in town on vacation. Murphy read an account, of the actions that led to the awarding of the original Medal in 1981.
Ptl. Powers, while assigned to Emergency Service Truck-1 in Manhattan, responded to a report of an armed robbery of a store on East 21st St. Upon arrival at the store, the pistol-wielding gunman fired shots at Powers. In an exchange of gunfire, the perp was shot 5 times by Powers. Neither Powers, nor any others, were injured during the fierce gun battle. President Murphy than called Powers to the podium. As he rose from his seat, Richie received a thunderous standing ovation. With his wife, Margie, by his side, and other members of the O’Connor family seated at his table, he was totally caught totally by surprise. Retirees from his beloved 1-Truck looked on proudly, as their old friend, who by now was at a complete loss of words, was handed his O’Connor Medal. The humble hero could say no more than “thank you”, as many around him stood with tears in their eyes. It certainly was a beautiful moment for the Powers’ and their dear friends, the O’Connors. We are sure that from up above, that Ptl. Paddy O’Connor was looking down, and enjoying this wonderful tribute to his friend, and proud of the family he left behind.
Be advised that Richie Powers is a REMA member (Ret ESS 1) who has never asked for anything for himself. When approached as to what REMA members could do for him and his wife, Marge after they lost everything they owned in a fire at their new California home, Richie replied, " There are probably people in greater need than us. Just keep us in your prayers".
He has always been a legend and will remain one forever. Richie lives by his credo - Semper Fidelis. God bless him and his family.