Little Sean DePatto got the best Christmas present this year.
The seven-year-old, whose dream is to be a police officer, was honorary “Commander for a Day” of the 102nd Precinct, got to shadow his heroes, and was honored as “Cop of the Month” at the most recent meeting of the Jamaica Rotary.
“It’s nice, I’m excited,” said Sean.
It all began in early December when the men and women of the 102 hand- delivered thousands of dollars, DVD players and movies to the children at Columbia Presbyterian.
Sean, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) five years ago, was there for a chemotherapy treatment that day, and the officers were moved by his story and his strength.
“One child in particular lit up the room,” said Captain Armando DeLeon, Commanding Officer of the 102. “He has the courage and the heart of a lion, and he is my inspiration.”
After developing a relationship with the family – mom Kim, 38; sister Donna, 23; and brother TJ, 11 – the cops decided to do something special for Sean.
“I was floored,” Kim told The Courier. “He’s ecstatic. Out of something bad came something good.”
After presenting Sean with, among other things, an NYPD sweatshirt and shield, those gathered at the meeting opened up their hearts – and their wallets.
One woman even donated her birthday money to the DePatto family.
Moreover, Jamaica Rotary President Joe Iaboni made him an honorary Rotarian.
“It’s a very nice thing, this kid is very special,” he said.
“I am so proud of him for being strong,” said Sean’s friend, Andrew Tavarez, 7.
“It’s nice, it’s more than I could ever imagine,” said Lieutenant John McGrorty, in whose son’s memory the donations were made, and who was also honored as “Cop of the Month.” “To see this be even bigger, to have more people involved, makes it more special.”