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Photo via Tom Barberio/Go Fund Me
Police Officer Joe Simone, a 25-year veteran of the NYPD, who passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 11.

Queens residents have once again come together to show its generosity and support for one of its own during a time of sadness after the recent, sudden passing of Police Officer Joseph Simone, a longtime veteran of the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood.

Simone passed away on Sept. 11 after a medical emergency, and two days later a Go Fund Me account was created by Tom Barberio on Sept. 13 to help alleviate the college expenses for Simone’s two children. Within 24 hours, the account received more than $13,000 in donations from the community. As of Sept. 19, the fund has grown to $24,717.

“Whether you knew Joe for years, or only met him for mere minutes, he left a lasting impression. His laugh and smile could immediately fill a room,” wrote Barberio on the Go Fund Me page. “It is in times of tragedy when you see just how many people truly care about your loved one. It’s our turn now to show the Simone family how much we care about them.”

At a 104th Precinct Community Council meeting on Sept. 18, Deputy Inspector John Mastronardi, commanding officer of the precinct, began his usual routine of presenting the “Cops of the Month” and updating the local crime statistics by first taking time to reflect on what happened to Simone.

Mastronardi explained that while he was working on the evening of Sept. 10, one of his lieutenants called to inform him that Simone had been rushed to the hospital. At the time, they suspected Simone had suffered a stroke or heart attack, Mastronardi said, but he could not confirm the cause of death. The commanding officer immediately began to mobilize his officers to get in contact with Simone’s family and go to the hospital to offer their support.

By the time Mastronardi arrived at the hospital, Simone was already being brought into emergency surgery, he said. The next day, while attending the Sept. 11 memorial services at Juniper Valley Park, Mastronardi received the call that Simone had passed.

“He was not only my police officer, he was my peer, and I considered him a dear friend,” Mastronardi said. “He had a big smile, loved cappuccinos and he had a crazy mustache. God bless you, Joe, thank you for everything you’ve done and we’re going to miss you.”

Simone was laid to rest on Sept. 17, where Mastronardi presented Simone’s wife with his burial flag. Outside precincts were called in to cover the command while the entire 104th Precinct attended the burial, a “very touching ceremony” with a huge turnout, the commanding officer said.

A 25-year veteran of the NYPD, Simone spent the majority of his career serving the 104th Precinct.

For those who would like to contribute to the fund for his children’s education, the Go Fund Me page will be accessible until Oct. 5 with the goal of reaching $30,000.

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