The first day of school is an emotional one for all parties involved. Children are nervous and excited, and parents often feel the same, with a little bit of sadness mixed in. And so it was when 5-year-old Austin Tuozzolo recently headed in for his first day of school. But Austin had quite the support system behind him, letting him know everything was going to be OK: the NYPD.
Austin’s dad, Paul Tuozzolo was killed in the line of duty in November 2016, and the NYPD made a promise to always be there to support Austin.
Being there to see him walk onto the school bus was part of that duty. That’s why about 30 NYPD officers from the Bronx’s 43rd Precinct lined up to wave goodbye as Austin gave his mom one last hug and hopped onto the bus to head off for his big day of kindergarten.
In November 2016, Paul was fatally shot while responding to a call about a home invasion in the Bronx.
According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, he “responded not just as a police officer, but responded as a father when he understood that a family was in danger, that they were being held at gunpoint, a mother and child literally on the brink of such danger,” he said in a ceremony honoring the fallen officer.
At the ceremony, Austin who accepted a medal in his dad’s honor.
“They love coming to see how daddy is honored and they understand that daddy was a hero,” the sergeant’s wife, Lisa Tuozzolo, told Newsday. “They don’t know the specifics, but they know that daddy was a hero. And he’ll always be a hero in their eyes.”
On Austin’s big day, an officer who served with Paul posted on Facebook, “Since Sgt. Tuozzolo couldn’t be here to put his son on the bus for his first day of kindergarten, his 43 family made sure little Austin was not alone on his first day getting on the bus!” Lt. Emmanuel Kwo wrote on Facebook. “We promise to never forget and to always be here for this family! Have a great day Austin!”
What a solid support unit to have!