A Story: End of Watch

“There was one day where I was sitting alone with Dave. He found this the perfect time  to question me about my worries in regards to making the move to Texas. “What’s your biggest fear about moving here?” I told him that in the NYPD Mike always had a partner and although Euless seems like a safe area, I just didn’t love the idea of him being alone. Dave instantly laughed. He said: “You think Mike will ever be alone? He’s MY partner, kiddddd! I always have his back. If that’s your biggest fear you’re fine. I’d die for him and that’s the truth.”

Fast forward a few months, Mike and Dave constantly reminded us of the movie End of Watch. “This movie is so completely like us” they’d say. Both Marta and I never laughed and said: “That’s not funny because one gets killed in the end.”

If you’ve never seen the End of Watch, I’d suggest keeping it that way. It is heartbreaking, but a true depiction of what police officers go through. In the movie, tragically, the officers were ambushed, leaving one officer to watch his partner get killed, which now more than ever hits home.

In the end, during David’s final moments, he was with Mike, Ed, and Mo and Dave did exactly what he had promised me he would do. He saved Mike’s life and there are no words to describe how thankful I am for what he did. He truly honored their brotherhood and will be honored as a hero forever in my eyes.

~ Stefanie O., Friend

A Story: Pretty woMAN

“Throughout my life, David has been one of the most present friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve known him since middle school and he has consistently kept in touch and reached out to me to connect with him.

In middle school and high school, David was that friend with the awesome apartment that invited me over pretty much every other weekend.  We were a bit awkward together, but found solace bonding over Dragon Ball Z and playing video games.  He always sat me down to play games with him… where he pretty much wrecked me every time.  That set the tone of our friendship. We hung out in loud places such as bars with friends and one on one gaming together or just chatting at his place.  We stayed in touch, when I was in college.  Whenever I was back home, I always took time off to chill with David.  In Seattle, we kept in touch over Xbox Live and the occasional call.   And back in New York, I was always with Dave until he left to Texas.

After high school, I had my heart broken by a crush that broke up with me, which lasted a good time even into college.  David took it upon himself to get me back into dating.  His method was simple, get me as drunk as he could possibly get me, point to someone and push me into that person. Sometimes, he’d even tell that person some fake story about me!  I would awkwardly fumble through whatever situation he put me in. 

I always had a lot of fun hanging out with him.  He always pushed me. He’d tell me to just talk to people and get comfortable.  He even took it upon himself to get a friend to “pretty woman” me and clean me up for dating after he left for Texas!  He helped me break out of my comfort zone, and I appreciated it and was always down to hang with him and act stupid.”

~ Greg T., Friend

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A break from snowmobiling on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley, Maine

A Story: On Missing The Last Train Out

“I met Dave when we both worked together in the beginning of our careers, our lockers were close to each other’s in the same row at work.  And like many of the friendships he started, ours began with him encouraging me to go out with him after our tour.  I was sometimes reluctant because I knew that if I went with him I’d end up missing my late train from Penn station and would have to end up having to “wait” until the early morning train.  And “waiting” just means staying out longer. Anyone who relies on the LIRR knows what that means.  But when I gave in I never regretted it (accept for maybe the slight hang-over) and when I agreed he usually responded with a,“yeah kiiiiiiiiiiid!”

He took me to his spot, introduced me to all his friends, and made sure I was always taken care of.  He was always having a good time and just wanted me to have a good time too.  It was that simple.  He wanted to share this happiness with anyone and everyone, he didn’t keep it to himself.  Texas was no different.  I remember when he first called me to tell me about his plans.  My phone rang and when I answered, his first words were literally, “North Richland Hills”, which is one of the City’s close to Euless.  At that time, when you took the entrance exam for Euless PD, that exam made you eligible for several other departments that hire off of the same list, North Richland Hills included.  He was so pumped to pursue his career down there, and so excited to build that dream life (and especially to have his own pool), that how he got there and where he worked was just, at first, a minor technicality.  Eventually he called me back to tell me it was Euless he really wanted, but I still laugh at that first call.  And right away he was encouraging me to take the test too. He hadn’t even been there yet! He was just so sure about it.

He told me about everything, step-by-step on the whole process, and we talked often once he left.  I had been down to visit and saw everything first hand just as he described. Himself, Marta and the rest of his Texas family have built a great new home in a short period of time.

As has already been described time and time again, Dave was a great, loyal, honest, dependable and trustworthy friend.  He was my go-to for advice and he was always good for a laugh.  Especially when he used his German accent, which was probably my favorite thing.”

~ Sean F., former NYPD

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A Story: Making Moves

“It took a few months, but I am so lucky that Dave convinced us to move to Texas. I met Dave 3 years ago and Dave went from being a character (“my partner”) that I only heard about to a amazing friend of my own. I have so many memories from the past 7 months that I will cherish an entire lifetime. I figured I’d share the day we moved to Texas.

We walked out of the airport and there was Dave. Standing outside his car waving to us with the biggest smile on his face. He embraced Mike and I and said: “Welcome to the good life!” He was right. Mike and I scheduled our car and furniture to be delivered all in the same day as we moved.  As we got into Dave’s car I saw two red bulls, one for Mike and one for me, a huge bottle of wine for me and a humidor for Mike. Considering Dave loved cigars, whether Mike liked them or not, he better start! And, he did! 

He brought us to to pick up Mike’s car and then followed us to our apartment. Instead of doing whatever he needed to do, he sat outside and waited for us to finish our hour-long paperwork. He did a walk-through of our apartment. And, after all this he took us to lunch, paid as a “welcome to Texas”meal (which of course included sangria!). 

He then brought us to Total Wine and back to the apartment. Now, you’d think after a full day of helping us, Dave would go home.  No, not Dave. He carried couches, beds, televisions, and so many boxes into our apartment. Finally he turned to Mike and I and said: “Stop! You have time to unpack. You need to enjoy your time here!” So, we went to the pool. We drank beers, and the boys smoked cigars. 

Dave was Mike’s best friend, but did not know me or owe me anything. Through the next few months Dave spent at least three days a week at our apartment. Each time, taking the to get to know me. His friendship with Mike is something I will always cherish. And to me, he became a brother.”

~ Stefanie O., Friend

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A Story: My Dear Friend Dave

Two Years ago, I got on a plane and took a vacation to visit my cousin Ed and his wife Michelle who had recently moved down to Dallas, Texas. In that short weekend I met a wonderful group of people. One in particular stood out to me. Dave.

On that trip to Texas, I had my first glass of moonshine, my first shot of fireball because there was no saying no to Dave. I learned that very quickly.

Having loved Texas so much I planned to go back in a few months during the summer to look at apartments and a potential job opportunity.

Again, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks down there with this special group of people. My cousin and his wife welcomed me in as did their friends.

I remember Dave for a good chunk of my two weeks there, telling me that I would be crazy not to move down here.

Eventually a couple of months later, I decided I would move down to Texas, try it out and just take a risk. After my big move, the first time I saw Dave his words were “I told you that you’d be back.” He was right.

After having lost my mother in 2013, I also lost some friendships, true friendships. I felt people didn’t know how to be around me, didn’t know what to say, and pitied me. This group of people in Texas just got me. Having had shared with them in different settings the story about my mom, they all just understood. They didn’t pity me, they didn’t look at me differently when they found out and they knew how to keep me smiling and busy.

A good amount of my time down there in Texas was spent with Dave and Marta. They welcomed me with open arms; they constantly included me and invited me to go out with them. I never felt uncomfortable or out of place or like I was third wheeling.

I always looked forward to getting a text from Dave. Some consisted of…

“Sangria. Our place. 4:00.”

“Village Burger Bar. Be there”

“Poolside Sunday fun day. Meet us at the pool”

I also always looked forward to going to Ed and Michelle’s after work. At the time I did not have a washer and dryer so I did wash at Ed and Michelle’s every Thursday. Just about every Thursday I walked in to the house to find Ed and Dave just hanging out. Just about every time they were drunk, half naked, or poolside, fireside, and passing out on the couch.

My favorite story had to be when I arrived at Ed’s house around 5:30. I can see them sitting by the fire-pit as I walked through the door. I walked in and was welcomed by Ed with a “What’s uppp Teacherrrr?” and from Dave with a “What’s up kiddddddddd? Want some fireball?”

We got on the topic of the word “BAE”. A new word everyone was using to refer to their significant other. Ed and Dave having never head of that term asked me what it meant. I first asked them to guess. You can only imagine the guesses that came out of their drunken mouths.

“balls, and ass eater” is just one example.

I eventually told them it meant “before anyone/thing else”

They found this comical and extremely stupid. They  started asking each other if they wanted to be their BAE’s. The next five minutes consisted of Ed and Dave looking all googly-eyed at each other, sticking their tongues out, licking their cups and being weird. Telling each other how much they loved each other. This was nothing new to me, I always enjoyed watching this and decided to film it. It is a video I watch back frequently.

Then….

Drunk Ed asked Drunk Dave to make him a glass of scotch. There happened to be just a little bit of scotch left. Dave did as he was asked and brought drunk Ed his drink. Drunk Ed was NOT happy. Drunk Ed was insistent that drunk Dave spiked the glass with fireball. As an eye witness, drunk Dave did not spike the drink. Drunk Ed went to make a new drink only to find that there was NO MORE SCOTCH! Drunk Ed went on a rant and Ed was not having this. Dave felt bad and said he would go to Total Wine to get him a new bottle.

There was no way drunk Dave was driving to his favorite spot so I offered to take him. He refused to go in my “toy car” as he called it so he allowed me to drive his car.

“Woah slowdown”

“Watch out”

“Goooo”

“Be careful with my car”

“Watch the bump”

“Go faster”

“You’re driving on the floor lights, don’t you hear it?”

Let’s just say I never drove Dave’s car again……..

Because drunk Ed and drunk Dave weren’t drunk enough, Dave bought a bottle of fireball and a giant bottle of scotch to make up for drunk Ed accusing him of spiking his drink.

This ordeal of drunken stupidness continued as more friends started to show up. The boys had planned on going to “the spot” at the Shops at Legacy. They told me I should come and have a drink with all them. I was in my sweats and had no desire to be at a bar. So I offered to drop them off. As they all got out of the car Dave and Ed looked and me and Dave said , “You better go home, change and come meet us.”

As I was driving home I decided I would go home, change, and meet them, as per Dave’s request. We’ll just say it was an interesting night of watching drunken 30 year olds at the bar.

There are countless days and nights that I was able to spend with Dave. Some comical like the story above and some just low key nights. Dave always welcomed me to their apartment, always included me when his friends came to town for the weekend. He tried to set me up with a number of his friends because all he truly wanted was for people to be happy. He looked out for me like a little sister. Most importantly he always kept me laughing hysterically and smiling when I was hurting inside.

Dave was a good guy. He was genuine, selfless, beautiful, funny, kind, generous, happy, intelligent, silly and a friend. There aren’t many people I called a friend after the passing of my mom. But to me, even in just the two and a half years I knew Dave, he was a good friend.

My time in Texas came to an end, I was missing my family in New York and decided to move back and just take it a year at a time. When I told Dave and Marta, they were sad. I spent a lot of time with them before I left. We spent a day balcony and pool hopping, drinking Sangria and just laughing. A lot of the conversation consisted of Dave saying , “You are crazy to move back.” “You are going to go home, be miserable and come back. Just wait, you’ll see.” “Don’t leave, don’t go back to New York.”

My Dear Friend Dave,

You are a beautiful human.

I thank you for your friendship.

I thank you for being you.

I thank you for the laughter.

I thank you for the memories.

I thank you for looking out for me.

I thank you for your service, for your ultimate sacrifice. You are my hero.

When I close my eyes I can summon back your smile and laughter in my mind.

You will live on in my heart.

~ Allissa P., Friend

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A Story: A Smile

“I brought him a cupcake in Times Square on his birthday once. It made him smile.”

~ Marian L., Friend

[NOTE: These pics have nothing to do with the little anecdote, but I think Marian decided to tell me about this little memory because Dave’s smile and laugh were just so much a part of who he was. When I went digging for a pic for this post, I found this sequence from 2010. In the originals, our dad is on the left having some kinds of serious-looking discussion. On the right, Dave is slowly losing it. What I wouldn’t give to know what silly thing we were cracking up about it!]

A Tribute: Three Months Gone (and a Slideshow)

Today marks three months since Dave was killed. How surreal. In this time, I can honestly say that I have done nothing but think about him and the circumstances of his death. It makes me feel like I’m a bit in a time-warp, like everything just happened. But then, in a way, that makes sense. His being gone means a complete restructuring of everything I thought I knew about what my life would be like. I may have had many possible versions for my life when I thought about what the future might bring, but fundamentally, he was part of all of those versions. I say this as Dave’s sister, and I know it’s even more acute for Marta. The most heart-breaking thought, to me, is that when I eventually have children, they won’t know Dave. Someone who was so, so, so important to me, will simply be a collection of stories to them.

I thought it fitting to post the slideshow that Lucas Funeral Homes put together for Dave’s viewing. If you have 10 minutes, and are somewhere private (because: tears), watch it.

David was a son, a fiancee, a brother, a grandson, an uncle, a cousin, a best friend to so, so many, and the funniest dang person any of us knew. If love alone could have kept him safe, he would be with us still.

A Story: Omas and Opas

“One of my favorite nights was when I took Dave to Shea Stadium for a Mets game.  I grew up loving baseball and Dave agreed to go to a MLB game with me.  However, once the game started I realized that Dave knew nothing about baseball.  He was a good sport about it though, and listened patiently as I attempted to explain the rules of the game.  Eventually we ended up just talking during the entire game and got to know one another very well.  I remember his shock when he found out that this seemingly Puerto Rican girl actually called her grandparents “Oma” and “Opa,” and laughing when he observed that I said it with no accent.  Years later, Dave messaged me how he was sorry that my Opa passed away.  I responded telling him about that night at Shea Stadium and how we realized we both had an “Opa.”  That memory of Dave made me laugh a little while I mourned the loss of my grandfather.”

~ Diana V., NYU classmate

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Discussions with Opa back in the day.

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Selfie with Oma