By Gregory Carpenter | NEWSL.ORG
The 66th Precinct Brooklyn, New York, has said goodbye to a hero today.
I found nothing, but as I scoured the newspapers, I found nothing to tell me of this man’s life, his accomplishments, his contributions. How could that be? A man who had dedicated his life to serving others must surely have achieved some level of success, but alas…nothing.
It is said that life is fleeting and that we all will awakened to eternal life eventually. I never ponder it much as it would require great thought and that would detract me from the important duties of my daily life. The daily needs and wants that keep us going…here and there…
As with many things, I realized I had already read the article of this man’s life. NYPD Retired Police Officer Danny Leung’s story was something I had already read on that fateful day. My wife received the notice first and her face told me the story of the man who let her call him by the name, “Larry” because he looked like a “Larry” to her, I was engaged in work in my office when she sheepishly pushed the door open and crept in. The look on her face was a cornucopia of emotions mixed with absolute loss and as hollow as I had ever seen. She had just heard the news of PO Leung (I will call him that out of respect as I did not personally know him). He was the older brother of my wife’s childhood friend Mari, and with social media, they were still able to communicate regularly and that invigorated the happiness and love they shared with each other. You see, PO Leung was a very important person to my wife. When all others failed, he was there helping her realize the goals she must achieve. When all others forsaken her, he taught her of hope and when all appeared gone, he showed her fulfillment.
A SINGLE, SOLITARY MAN
Now with him gone, she felt lost and saddened. This is a normal human reaction when someone special passes, but the influence he had in her life transcended normal and was something little known to people. As she told the stories of the wonderful things he had done and the selfless service he endured, there was also respect, a respect that does not come from wearing a uniform, but from being human, a person, and someone who made a difference. If it had not been for PO Leung, I am unsure where my wife would be today, I believe he was her guiding light when times were not so good. I also believed from her testimony, there were others who had benefited from the life of this single, solitary man.
As we entered the funeral home today to pay respects, I had expected to be paying tribute to a fine officer and someone who had meant so much to my wife, but as we approached, I saw dozens, nay scores, nay HUNDREDS! We arrived at the beginning of the service and the funeral home was packed, I have never seen so many who came to pay tribute to a single, solitary man. In the silence, I heard the stories, at first it was in their faces – every face told the story of how they were personally touched by that one single, solitary man, but then as I listened into the hallway where two dozen of his peers stood, I heard them. Police officer after police officer speaking of PO Leung not as a contemporary, but as a friend, the single, solitary man who was always there for them, he would always help, and on and on. These were personal accounts of dozens of people who knew him, some for a short time, others, like my wife, many, many years. Their stories matched what my wife had shared with me only a few nights prior, not in deed, but in spirit. It was as if I had been taken down a garden road and shown all the beautiful aspects and characteristics of the natural world, these were the stories which reached my ears – they were as precious as gold, as delicate as a newborn and as amazing as a sunrise. PO Leung had been a special, honest and most reliable man with a sense of humor, his abilities to comfort and heal exceeded any I was familiar with.
As I sat with my wife at the funeral home, I noted the flower arrangement, seemingly more than a person would care to count at a funeral, but I kept going till I lost track. I thought to myself, they were all in tribute to one man, a single, solitary man: I became more humbled as I looked around, my humility shown as clear as day, I am sure and I realized that I was in the presence of someone special. I collected my thoughts and refocused back to the flower arrangements and noted one from the Asian Jade Society (my limited ability to read Chinese was a factor as most were dedicated in Chinese) and dozens more from people from every sector of life. How many lives had this one man affected, this single, solitary man? How could one man be so influential to so many people in a community? It wasn’t just the people in that room either, I could hear them talking from the hallway, fathers, mothers, children, nieces, nephews – PO Leung had been there for all of them, more than any man could count.
One man, one life, one extraordinary gift – himself. It seemed that I was the one person who had not had the honor of meeting this exemplary man in life, no it was the cold cruel irony of death which brought us together, and I will never know the warmth of his smile, or the healing in his voice, or the love in his eyes, yet I have now experienced them all. You see, the warmth of his smile was shown to me by his nephews and niece in their smiles; the healing in his voice was shared with me by his sister when she spoke with me in a timid shaky meter which hid nothing and told all and the love in his eyes was poured out onto me by his mother because we never spoke, but I understood her words.
ONE MAN’S LIFE TOUCHES SO MANY OTHERS
I have found that the newspapers have missed the story of a lifetime; one man, one life and the thousands he has affected and helped have made this world just a little bit better for all of us, even those like me who did not know of him until a couple weeks ago when he had already gone to join his ancestors. He had changed my life, and I did not even know it, and now I cannot thank him.
PO Leung, you are gone from our lives, but you live on in spirit and in our spirits, the people you have touched here on this Earthly planet each have a part of you which you gave to them and by doing so, they, we, are a living testament to you and in our hearts, you will always be among us all. Danny, I look to meet you personally, one day and thank you and call you my friend too like so many others have done before me.