Anastasios Tsakos, the NYPD officer who was killed by an allegedly drunk and speeding driver on the Long Island Expressway last week, was hailed as a humble public servant, a doting father and a “perfect picture of the American dream,” at his funeral on Tuesday.
“It does not make sense how someone could live his life right in every way and be taken from us so horribly, but his heroism uplifts us,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told mourners at St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church.
“Some people are true heroes. Some people are there for others. And that in every way was Anastasios Tsakos.”
Tsakos, a 14-year veteran of the police department, was fatally struck by 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais, while diverting traffic from a previous fatal crash on the Long Island Expressway in Queens.
His funeral which was officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, was limited to 180 attendees due to the pandemic.
Dozens more gathered outside the church with the streets around the area a sea of blue as fellow police officers and community members paid their respects to the fallen officer.
Join us as we bid farewell to Police Officer Anastasios Tsakos.
Posted by NYPD on Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Tsakos, raised in Greece and New York City, served in the Greek army after high school, worked in his father’s diner on Long Island, studied aviation in college and dreamed of flying helicopters for the NYPD, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The police commissioner also posthumously promoted Tsakos to detective first grade and presented a gold detective shield to his wife, Irene.
“He absolutely was a great cop,” Shea said.
“Taso was, from beginning to end, a very intelligent and hardworking man. He was the envy of his peers. He was really a perfect picture of the American dream. An example of our nation´s great diversity. Also, an example of the extraordinary call to service that so many courageous New Yorkers embrace.”
On her part, Irene Tsakos said her husband was a loving father to their 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son, building little houses out of cardboard boxes, playing horsey, teaching them the names of all of his tools and letting their daughter play hairdresser with his hair.
“I will miss everything about him. Everything. Most of all, I will miss his hugs,” Irene said.
“I wish he had more time – to watch our kids grow, see them off to college and get married,” she added. “I wish we could grow old together. That was the plan. But he was taken from us too soon.”
The Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation, started after 9/11 to support families of fallen first responders, announced that it will pay off the mortgage on the family’s home.
A GoFundMe page set up to help support Tsakos’ family has so far raised more than $227,000.