Lieutenant Patrick Welsh did not have to think twice when deciding to shave his long curls for fellow officer and friend, Sergeant Paul Ferrara.
Welsh, together with five other members of the 110th Precinct, including commanding officer Deputy Inspector Ronald D. Leyson, volunteered Thursday to shave their hair for Ferrara, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January.
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“It’s all for a great cause , for Paul, for a fellow brother,” said Welsh, who has been growing his hair out since last September. “It wasn’t even a question, [Ferrara] is one of the most liked men in the precinct.”
Ferrara started his career in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct in 1992 and then was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and assigned to the 110th Precinct. During his 22 years of service, Ferrera has been a 9/11 first responder and former anti-crime sergeant, and now serves as a counter terrorism supervising officer.
Ferrara’s diagnosis is currently being linked to what he, together with other first responders, faced at Ground Zero in 2001.
The 110th Precinct came together last month to start a fundraiser to collect money to help the 44-year-old NYPD officer and his family with medical expenses. Ferrara is married and has a 12-year-old son.
As part of the fundraiser, officers at the precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, came up with the idea to “put a price on the commanding officer’s head” and have the officer with the highest donation shave Leyson’s hair.
Through a collaborative effort, the highest donation was $1,500 and Police Officer William Bahrenburg, who also shaved his hair and mustache, had the honor Thursday of shaving the deputy inspector’s hair.
“Like the police department does, we get together to help out one another,” Leyson said. “I’ve been on the job for over 20 years and there’s a lot of things that we complain about, but it is a family, when one of us is in need, that’s one thing this police department always does – step up.”
Police Officers Matthew Zimmerman and Thompson Wen, and Auxiliary Police Officer Chris Lui also volunteered to have their hair shaved in honor of Ferrara.
“It’s just the right thing to do. He’s always been there for me,” Wen said. “Hair grows back.”
So far, the precinct has collected a total of $40,000. The 81st Precinct has also contributed to the fundraiser.
“It’s the proudest I’ve been because none of this has to be done, but it’s getting done anyway,” Ferrara said.
The donations will be presented to Ferrara on Sunday, April 27 during a fundraising event at Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon, Long Island.
Anyone interested in donating can mail or drop off a check at the precinct, located at 94-41 43rd Ave. in Elmhurst. Checks should be made out to the 110th Precinct General Fund, with “Sergeant Ferrara Fund” written on the memo line.