The Bronx has a proud history of honoring its heroes. The intersection of Fordham Road and Grand Concourse is now “Big Pun Plaza” in honor of the groundbreaking rapper. University Avenue between Brandt Place and West 176th Street is now known as “Stan Lee Way” honoring the iconic Marvel Comics founder. But in The BX such honors are not reserved just for the rich and famous.
On Friday, October 13, 2023, Council Member Marjorie Velázquez (D-13 Bronx), Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, and members of the New York City Police Department’s 45th Precinct and Police Service Area 8, gathered at the Randall Avenue & Cross Bronx Expressway Extension to unveil “Officer Richard Lopez Way”.
Officer Lopez served with the New York Police Department for 20 years. He died in 2018 at the age of 52 from a 9/11-related illness. Prior to his time as a police officer, Officer Lopez served his country in the United States Marine Corps. Community members and family members remembered Officer Lopez for his long-standing history with the community, dedication, and heroic efforts during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Both as a Marine and as an officer of the New York Police Department, Officer Lopez embodied the sense of duty that drives our men and women of the New York City Police Department,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “Officer Lopez made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect and serve those that needed the most help, in the aftermath of the tragic events that occurred on September 11th, 2001. Officer Lopez’s heroic efforts and legacy will forever be remembered by his fellow police officers and family; as well as etched in our borough’s history throughout his community.”
As the uplifting remarks from those present were made. It reminded us that contrary to popular belief, young men of color living in The Bronx don’t have to look far for acknowledgement and recognition. Officer Richard Lopez is a testament that dedication and service can bring much deserved recognition from one’s own community.