For 25 years Frank Kotnik has served the communities of Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Ridgewood as a member of the 104 Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), formerly known as G-COP (Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol).
During those two and a half decades, Kotnik devoted his time and energy to making those communities as safe as he could by organizing patrols, coordinating parades and lending help during times of need, such as after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy.
At Thursday night’s 104COP meeting at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, family, friends, colleagues and local politicians surprised Kotnik to celebrate his 25 years of service as he stepped down as president of 104COP.
As his final act as president, Kotnik handed over the gavel to Mark Pearson, the new president of 104COP. Although Kotnik stepped down as president, he will remain an active member of the board.
After the installation of all the newly elected officers of 104COP, the guests began showering Kotnik with thanks and gifts.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo presented Kotnik with a proclamation from the New York Senate, thanking him for his years of dedication to the communities that 104COP serves and for lending help to other communities in need.
“I will forever be grateful to 104COP, and to Frank, because a third of my district was severely impacted by Sandy,” Addabbo said. “And Frank led the charge down there for many of you members to help my people after Sandy. And I don’t mean a month after Sandy, but days, hours after Sandy, Frank was helping my constituents, who are still hurting. So for that I will forever grateful to Frank, so thank you.”
Kotnik was honored by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilman Antonio Reynoso with a proclamation, thanking him for his service.
“When I think of G-COP, I think of Frank,” Crowley said. “He’s always been president and the leader, and there is no other organization in the city of New York like G-COP.”
“As the newest member of this elite team here, let me tell you, I just wanted to say, Frank, I think I graduated preschool when you started at G-COP,” Reynoso said, to which the crowd erupted with laughter. “That speaks less of my age and more of his commitment to the mission of G-COP. A lot of people do things in short [stints], but he made a commitment to this community for much longer than that…and I truly want to thank you.”
Commanding Officer of the 104th Precinct, Captain Mark Wachter, personally thanked Kotnik for helping to keep the communities he has lived in since he was a child safe for so many years.
“Frank watched out for this community when I was very young,” Wachter said. “Because of Frank and the members of G-COP, this community is still safe. So on that personal level Frank, I thank you.”
Wacther then presented Kotnik with a plaque from the NYPD, thanking him for his years of service.
Among the others that honored Kotnik throughout the evening were representatives from Borough President Melinda Katz’s office, Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, representatives from the 104th Precinct Community Council, and the members of 104COP.
Kotnik thanked everyone for their love and support, now and over the years.
“Thank you, thank you for the support,” Kotnik said. “One thing that was forgotten, I know everyone is saying it was me, but it was ‘we.’ This patrol is always, as far as I’m concerned, is ‘we.’ We were going to do this together…All I can say to everybody, thank you for coming, God bless you all.”