GREENLAWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A funeral was held Tuesday for Det. Anastasios Tsakos, a 14-year veteran and father of two killed in the line of duty last week.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, the funeral cortege moved with solemn purpose to honor his life.
From as far away as Chicago, officers lined the streets of Greenlawn for the Greek Orthodox funeral at Saint Paraskevi.
“We all, growing up, are taught stories of Greek heroes. Today, we honor a Greek hero from our time,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the service.
His parents and other family members flew in from Greece to show love and support for his 6-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son and wife, Irene.
The family had moved to the North Fork just months ago, from Astoria, Queens.
Many were unable to compose themselves.
WATCH: Mayor, Police Commissioner & Wife Irene Remember Officer Tsakos
“Two little children growing up without their dad, and they need their dad,” said former police officer Theresa Ryan.
Irene Tsakos told a crowd of mourners that their joy in marital bliss was one another.
“My heart would even skip a beat when I looked at him 10 years later,” she said.
Now, her heart is shattered, along with dreams to watch their children grow together.
“Our family was his biggest pride and joy. He would often tell me, ‘Babe, I wake and sleep with you and the kids in mind,'” she said.
His legacy will be his beautiful daughter and son, who stood at their mother’s side while their father was remembered.
“Every day they’ll see his face and learn about all the wonderful things he did. And what a hero he was. We will never forget. I will make sure of that. Tasso you are the love of my life. I hope I made you proud. Lord, you have my angel now. Please hold him dear. And watch over us. I love you always and forever. Until you hold me in your arms again, my love,” she said.
“We’re all in mourning right now, we’re all in pain right now. It does not make sense that such a good man in every way could possibly be gone,” de Blasio said. “Some people are true heroes. Some people are there for others. That, in every way, was Anastasios Tsakos.”
Watch Jenna DeAngelis’ report —
“God certainly knows his plan. We do not. While Tasso may indeed be in a better place, we all want him here with us,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea added. “He was the one you were grateful to arrive on the scene. The one you should always rely on. He was the one that always asked, What else can I do?'”
“She was very strong but very distraught at the same time,” former Congressman Peter King said after meeting with the family. “Family seemed shattered.”
Shea posthumously promoted Officer Tsakos to detective, first grade, and presented his widow with the shield.
In a final tribute, thousands of police officers from around the country stood shoulder to shoulder to pay their respects to #NYPD @NYPDHighway Detective Anastasios Tsakos, who was tragically killed in the line of duty last week#RestInPeace #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/miJ9jYrfPO
— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) May 4, 2021
“But the man I’ve gotten to know over the last week or so through your stories, is much more. Tasso was from beginning to end a very intelligent and hardworking man. He was the envy of his pears. He was really the perfect depiction 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,” Shea said.
Bravery, compassion, humor – the qualities possessed by Tasso, his Greek nickname. He was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, allegedly drunk.
“He honored all of us not only with his death, because he was on duty when he sacrificed his life, but with his whole life,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
“Overwhelmed. My heart goes out to the widow. I know what she is going through, what she will be going through,” said NYPD widow Linda Sledge.
The community came from far and wide, many complete strangers.
“I drove over on my bike. I live about three miles away,” one person said.
“I heard he was a great man and belonged to the church,” said another.
He was the one you were grateful to arrive on the scene. McLogan’s husband learned that firsthand when he was rear-ended on the LIE. Profoundly decent, caring, going the extra mile.
Watch Jennifer McLogan’s report —
Irene Tsakos held her two children by her side during Taps.
Tsakos was part of the Highway Division, and both his work and personal motorcycles were transported to the service, given a place of honor. His coffin, draped in the green and white NYPD flag, was carried by hearse to his final resting place.
Retired narcotics officer Jamie Cabano, of Oakdale, didn’t know Tsakos, but felt compelled to bring her two sons, who want to be police officers when they grow up.
“You can’t teach this lesson of honor and respect. They have to see it sometimes firsthand, unfortunate as it may be,” she said. “We’re a family of blue. We all bleed blue.”
“I will miss everything about him. Everything. Most of all, I will miss his hugs. I wish we had more time to watch our kids grow. See them off to college. I wish we could grow together. That was the plan. But he was taken from us too soon. And now our kids will grow up without their dad. Without their awesome dad. I will make sure they know who he is,” Irene Tsakos said.
Tsakos was laid to rest at Northport rural cemetery. All the people who attended his funeral are an indication of how much he was loved and will be missed.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help support the Tsakos family. CLICK HERE for more information.
Jenna DeAngelis, John Dias, Jennifer McLogan and Jessica Layton contributed to this report.