Anastasios Tsakos, a New York City highway police officer killed last year by an alleged drunk driver, was posthumously awarded the NYPD Medal of Honor.
Tsakos, a 43-year-old Greek-American, was fatally struck on April 27, 2021 while on duty on the Long Island Expressway.
The NYPD award is the department’s highest medal, given “for individual acts of extraordinary bravery intelligently performed in the line of duty at imminent and personal danger to life.”
Tsakos’ wife, Irene, accepted the honor on his behalf.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD police officer, presented the award last week and spoke at the ceremony. Officers do the job “because we believe in it,” he said, according to a press statement the city released.
“We do it because we know that what stands between safety and those who want to destroy our city, are the heroes we recognize today,” Adams said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell attended the Medal Day ceremony, which also honored other officers for their sacrifice.
At Officer Tsakos’ funeral last year, his wife described her late husband as a doting father to their then six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. Hundreds gathered for the service at Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church on Long Island.
“I wish we had more time to watch our kids grow,” Irene Tsakos said during her eulogy. “See them off to college. I wish we could grow together. That was the plan…Tasso you are the love of my life. I hope I made you proud.”
Receiving the NYPD Medal of Honor (Posthumously) is Detective Anastasios Tsakos of Highway 3. His wife, Irene, accepted the medal on his behalf. Det. Tsakos was killed in the line of duty on 04/27/21 when he was struck by a drunk motorist. pic.twitter.com/9StrSKDYUo
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 7, 2022
Tsakos, a fourteen-year veteran, was on the LIE in Queens directing traffic away before 2 a.m. when he was fatally struck. The suspect, Jessica Beauvais, who was 32 at the time and from Hempstead, N.Y., was charged with thirteen criminal counts.
Following Tsakos’ death, then New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the officer one of the “true heroes. Some people are there for others,” he said. “And that in every way was Anastasios Tsakos.”
Tsakos was born in Greece and served in the Greek army before moving to the United States, where he worked at his father’s diner in Long Island.
Tsakos, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective, also now has an overpass named in his honor along the LIE in Queens, according to reports.
In a tweet message last year following the officer’s death, Mayor Adams said Tsakos “loved our city and served it nobly. He was a hero whose life was tragically cut short.”