Fallen officer's family accepts medal of honor

PHILADELPHIA - December 9, 2009

The famiy of Sergeant /*Stephen Liczbinski*/ accepted the Medal of Honor on Wednesday morning at the FOP lodge in Spring Garden.

Sergeant Liczbinski was killed last year, responding to an armed robbery call in Port Richmond.

Among those in attendance was Stephen Matthew Liczbinski, a 19-month-old boy who will never meet his grandfather. The person he was named for, Sgt. Liczbinski, died 11 days before his birth.

But, young Stephen will learn so much about him when he grows up.

The Liczbinski family accepted the Philadelphia Police Department's Medal of Honor on behalf of their fallen hero.

Robbers shot and killed the 39-year-old on a Port Richmond street last year.

"It's tough during the holidays because Christmas was the big holiday for our family. It's when everybody in the family got together," said Sgt. Liczbinski's son, Matt.

The shooting happened on May 3, 2008 on East Schiller Street.

Liczbinski, a 12-year vet who had only recently promoted to sergeant, was getting out of his patrol car when he was struck by the gunfire.

A resident on the street says Liczbinski's final words were: tell my wife and kids I love them.

"There's nothing we can do, or anybody else can do, to bring him back," said Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia Police Department. "But at least they know we're thinking about them, at least they know he died a hero."

More than 50 current members of the department were also commended at the Fraternal Order of Police Headquarters for various acts of bravery, heroism and valor. It's an awards ceremony that takes place twice a year.

But the process of comforting those left behind by fallen policemen and women, is constant.

As Matt Liczbinski said: "We lost one member of our family, but we gained about 8,000 more. It definitely helps"

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