Austin Tuozzolo may have been missing his father on his first day of Kindergarten, but he had the next best thing: a sea of surrogate fathers dressed in blue uniforms to send him off.
Austin’s father, NYPD Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo, was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 4 as he responded to a home invasion in the Bronx, according to the Facebook page Patches4Paul which honors the fallen officer.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 5, 2016
“Paul’s final selfless act was to warn other officers on the scene of the presence of a gun thereby saving countless lives,” the Facebook page reads.
About 30 officers from the NYPD’s 43rd precinct showed up to the Tuozzolo family’s Suffolk County home to give the 5-year-old a special sendoff before he boarded his school bus on Tuesday.
One of the officers who attended, Lt. Emmanuel Kwo, was with Tuozzolo when he died. He was shot and credits Tuozzolo with saving his life.
Kwo, who runs the Facebook page, said the officers have pledged to Tuozzolo’s wife, Lisa Tuozzolo, that they would always been there for their family.
“We felt we had to be here to make sure Austin feels completely surrounded with love and that his mom doesn’t forget that she has us by her side through all these momentous events,” Kwo wrote. “There was no way we were not going to be there with her to kind of lift her up and let her know she’s never alone.”
“This morning we continued our vow to #NeverForget Paul’s family, as we send off Austin on his 1st day of school,” the precinct tweeted.
— NYPD 43rd Precinct (@NYPD43Pct) September 5, 2017
A video of the sendoff was also posted to 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!” the post read. “We promise to never forget and to always be here for this family!”
Tuozzolo was a 19-year veteran of the NYPD.
(H/T: ABC News)