Central Police Station Captain Julian Ng and Officer Chris Sabella were our special guests for the club’s 7th annual First Responder Recognition. This year’s event, which took place virtually via Zoom, focused on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001,terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and crashed an airliner near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities and over 25,000 injuries.

Captain Ng recalled that on 9/11 he was an officer in the Bayview district and had just gotten off the night shift when he saw TV coverage of the towers falling. “I couldn’t help but think, what if that happened in San Francisco?” he said. “But I know what would happen. Firefighters and police here would do the same — we wouldn’t run away, we’d rush towards the disaster. That’s our job.”

“We have to be prepared, and we are,” Ng said. 

Officer Sabella said he was a high school freshman and vividly remembers the morning of the attacks. “It’s one of the things that spurred me to become a police officer,” he said, adding that his older brother is a firefighter and another brother is an EMT.

Foundation Chair Riki Intner surprised Captain Ng with a special gift from the club, a $1,000 donation naming him a Paul Harris Fellow. He received a lapel pin and certificate from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International what states, “In appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.”

Noticeably moved, Captain Ng thanked the club for this “tremendous honor.” 

Co-President Aline Estournes reported that pastries, goodies and ice cream were being delivered to Central Police Station for all the officers and staff to enjoy. Our hope is that next year, our First Responder Recognition will be an in-person celebration.