Mary Ann Collura Post office Building -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2004)
Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in very strong support of H.R. 3939. This bill is to redesignate a postal facility in Fair Lawn, New Jersey in honor of Mary Ann Collura, a wonderful, wonderful woman who I knew personally, a brave officer who was shot down in the line of duty while protecting her hometown and coming to the assistance of another police officer from another town. She was in every sense of the word a first responder all the time, every day.
I want to congratulate my neighboring Congressman, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman), on moving this forward.
Mary Ann Collura defied the odds. She lived her dream by becoming Fair Lawn's first female law enforcement officer. She set her mind to doing it, and she did it.
Officer Collura was a credit to her community, partly because she broke the mold by becoming that first female police officer, and partly because she served an impressive 18 years. But her greatest quality was her attachment and proven dedication to the community of Fair Lawn. She grew up there. She knew that community, and she loved it, and they loved her. No citizen can ask for more from their community police officers.
This was a woman whose service was not restricted by the hours that she worked. When Mary Ann Collura was in Fair Lawn, on duty or not on duty, the public could depend on her vigilance. Many in my town of Patterson knew all about how she cared. We even called her "Ma."
Some of my favorite stories about Mary Ann's heroism revolve around her willingness to face fires. Though she was not a firefighter, Mary Ann had that firefighter instinct, was never hesitant to enter a burning building in order to protect her community. She once saved an elderly woman that was trapped in a burning house following a cooking accident.
On April 17, 2003, the day Mary Ann was killed, she was assisting an officer from Clifton, New Jersey, police officer Steven Farrell. Once the apprehended suspect left the district and reached Fair Lawn, the suspect abandoned his car and started to run by foot. Officer Farrell and Officer Collura attempted to pursue and arrest the suspect. Four shots were fired, both officers were shot, but it was Officer Collura who suffered fatal wounds.
Mary Ann Collura's story is humbling. I will never forget the help that she lent to Officer Farrell and the Clifton Police Department. Officer Collura made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of her loving community, and it is for this that we honor her.
Naming a post office after Officer Collura is only a small token of our deep appreciation. It is my hope that the redesignation will provide that her name and inspiring story will always be remembered.
Mr. Speaker, I urge the House to pass this fitting tribute to Officer Collura. As the story that the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman) shared with me earlier this afternoon, someday in the future, that little child will be walking past this Post Office with his parents and will ask, what is that name all about, and the parents will know and will tell the story of Mary Ann Collura.
God bless her and her family, and God bless this Congress.