By Bill Parry
Astoria resident Francesca Mosomillo was just 2 years old when her father, NYPD Officer Anthony Mosomillo, was fatally shot in the line of duty in Brooklyn in 1998 while trying to arrest a parolee who had missed a court date.
After her father died, Answer the Call: the NY Police & Fire Widows & Children’s Benefit Fund stepped in to let the Mosomillo family know their family members would not be forgotten.
They provided a $25,000 grant to the family immediately following the officer’s death and each year send Officer Mosomillo’s widow a stipend.
On Oct. 10, the night of their 33rd Annual Gala at Cipriani’s Wall Street in Manhattan, Francesca Mosomillo, now 22 and a student at Iona College in New Rochelle, delivered a speech in front of more than 1,000 people at the organization’s biggest fund-raiser of the year.
Moswomillo also got engaged recently and when Lauren Profeta, the executive director of development at Answer the Call found out, she began to explore how she could help.
“I was chatting with Francesca’s mom Margaret who told me about the engagement,” Profeta said. “I reached out to Kleinfeld’s and they were thrilled to help out.”
With Kleinfeld’s help, Answer the Call surprised Francesca, at the end of her speech, with the gift of a bridal gown for her wedding,
“I was in shock when I was on stage and when I got back to my seat I started crying because my mom got married in a Kleinfeld’s wedding gown,” Mosomillo said. “It was a very special gesture by them, one I truly appreciate.”
The moment put an exclamation point on the night for Mosomillo, who fought her emotions while on stage delivering her speech.
“I have no memories of him as I was just a toddler,” Mosomillo said. “All I had were my pictures of him.”
Those pictures hold dear to Mosomillo, who felt closer to her father because of the photos.
“I told them what his pictures mean to me as well as the happy memories of trips to Shea Stadium with Rusty Staub,” she said.
Staub was the community-minded outfielder for the New York Mets who worked tirelessly for more than 30 years on behalf of the widows, widowers and children of New York City’s fallen heroes. Due to Staub’s leadership and vision, the NY Police and Fire Widows’ & Children Benefit Fund provided over $140 million to the families of fallen FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD heroes killed in the line of duty.
“I would watch TV and see Rusty Staub and say to my mom, ‘there’s Dad’s friend,” Francesca said, adding that she plans to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the NYPD in the spring.
“I’m currently a police cadet at the Academy in College Point and I have my fingers crossed and if everything goes well it will be in April,” she said. “That would be very meaningful and something I always wanted to do for the connection to my father and give back to the community.”
Mosomillio’s father was killed when paroled drug dealer Jose Serrano wrestled a gun away from him and shot the 14-year veteran four times in the neck and body.
Mosomillo returned fire, killing Serrano before succumbing hours later at Kings County Hospital, surrounded by his family.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr