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Junction to host fundraiser for officers’ getaways

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“I’m just hoping that the community recognizes and realizes how important it is to support our law enforcement, in general, as well as this organization,” said Huntington resident Lisa Tuozzolo, who lost her husband Paul in the line of duty about two years ago while he was working for the NYPD.

A fundraiser will be held this weekend to raise money for Law Enforcement Officers Weekend, an annual event that offers weekend getaways to law enforcement officers and their families to escape the stress of their jobs.

City officials announced Wednesday at a news conference in City Hall that this year’s LEO Weekend would be held in Lake George between June 14 and 16.

Founded by Long Beach resident and New York City Police Department officer Austin Glickman in 2014, the annual event benefits families across the country who are affected by line of duty deaths or serious injury of active or retired officers, including police officers, sheriff deputies, parole officers, corrections officers and probation officers.

Glickman, the president of the national nonprofit organization LEO Weekend, said the annual trips aim to “let them get away for the weekend and be able to de-stress, relax and enjoy themselves away from their job and the stress that comes with it.”

“There was no other event like the one that we have,” Glickman said, explaining that he founded the event and organization after researching trips especially for law enforcement officers and failing to find any.

This year, he expects hundreds of people from around the country to participate in the festivities, which would include barbecues, shopping sprees, boat cruises, shooting competitions, seminars, fireworks displays and more.

“We cannot do it without the support of people in Long Beach and throughout Nassau County and Long Island who are going to be attending these events to help us raise much-needed money to put on this event,” Glickman said.

This year, the organization will host the families of late NYPD Officer Kevin Lee and late Davis Police Department Officer Natalie Corona.

Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, a former NYPD detective, will host and serve as the master of ceremonies for the fundraiser, which is scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Junction, located at 20 W. Park Avenue.

“We must be better at educating the public on the risks that cops take, big and small, every day and the profound ways in which it impacts their lives, the lives of their family members, and the lives they protect — yours and mine,” Acting City Manager Rob Agostisi said. “Most people don’t appreciate those risks. “I want to honor not only the sacrifices that have been made, but the sacrifices that will be made. It’s not an if, it’s a when, and the public needs to know.”

Joined by Police Commissioner Mike Tangney, Glickman also announced that he and City Council members began planning an LEO Weekend for the summer of 2020 that would take place in Long Beach.

“We plan on hosting the families of officers who were injured in the line of duty to a full weekend here in the summertime and they will be treated to private surf lessons, jet skis, dinners, beach excursions — you name it, we’re going to have it for them.”

Tuozzolo recalled attending last year’s LEO Weekend.

“It’s not only letting us take a break from everyday life and forgetting all of my worries, as now a single parent, and raising my children and running a house by myself to get away for a weekend, but it’s all of the support that everyone has given me and the boys on a daily basis,” Tuozzolo said, referring to her sons Austin and Joseph. “It’s the men and women that you see here that wear the uniform that make life bearable again.”

For more information or to make a donation to the organization, visit leoweekend.com.