Mary Ann Collura Post office Building -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2004)
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, May 15, nearly 20,000 peace officers are expected to gather in Washington D.C. to honor their fallen comrades for National Peace Officers Memorial Day. In keeping with this sentiment today, this body will pay tribute to one of the 166 police officers killed annually in the line of duty.
By redesignating the Fair Lawn post office as the Mary Ann Collura Post Office Building, we honor the life of Officer Mary Ann Collura and the extraordinary sacrifice she made to protect her community.
I would like to thank my esteemed colleague, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman), for introducing this legislation. This legislation has special significance for me because Officer Collura was the aunt of my campaign manager, Scott Snyder. After having had the opportunity to hear Scott speak about his aunt, I have greater appreciation for this extraordinary woman and how tragic it is she has been taken from this world far too soon.
Though I have never had the opportunity to meet her, I am humbled by the remarkable life she led. One family member remarked to me, "Mary Ann was a 6-foot tall female cop who loved motorcycles and taught me how to throw a baseball. But when I look in the mirror and see our resemblance, I can't help but judge myself against her standards, knowing that if I come close, that means I have achieved something great with my own life."
Through the thousands of stories that have been told about her deeds and personality, the one ringing truth is that she represented a person we all long to be. She was the kind of warm person that could light up faces with a smile, the virtuous type that viewed everyone around her as a potential friend, and the forgiving type of person that can truly see the best in the worst of us. She accomplished this without even knowing, without the official commitment or the sacred vows. She lived from her heart.
Over the course of her career, Officer Collura had received numerous rewards, including a departmental Meritorious Service Award and the Hackensack University Medical Center EMS Excellence Award for her life-saving skills. Furthermore, she had received numerous commendation letters from the community for her prompt, courteous, and thoughtful service.
After dutifully serving for 18 years on the Fair Lawn Police Department, Officer Collura was fatally shot on April 17, 2003, in the line of duty. She was only 43 years old.
Mary Ann did not begin a life of aiding others when she became a police officer. She became a police officer so she could make a living doing what she really had already done, being our protector. For those who knew her, Mary Ann lived by her own rules; and though her death tore deep in the hearts of so many people who continue to grieve, it was her way: on the job, protecting her fellow officers and protecting all of us.
Thanks to the courageous acts of people like Officer Mary Ann Collura, countless Americans can go about their daily lives in a freer and safer society. Police Officer Collura's tragic death should serve as a reminder to all of us how fortunate we are to have such heroic individuals looking over us.