Years ago, a cop in the 77 Precinct, Crown Heights, caught a young boy doing something mischievous. The cop, Dave Watson, saw something in this young man. He made a decision to connect with him, rather than take enforcement action. Dave would become his mentor. Ruben Cespedes would soon become an NYPD Explorer, joining an excellent program that engages our young people in a great way. Ruben went on to become the highest ranking member of the NYPD explorers, a four star chief. At one point I met him at a community event and I was so inspired by how Dave Watson’s moment of caring affected Ruben’s life. I was fortunate to become close with Ruben, who I consider my adoptive nephew.
When he was about 17 years old he said to me, “Uncle Fox, I want to serve my country, and then my city.” Ruben did exactly that. He served a tour in Afghanistan. This young man endured sacrifice in battle. On one tragic day a British soldier died in his arms when their convoy was hit by an IED.
Ruben returned from his service and joined the NYPD. He continues to do an outstanding job and has since been promoted to detective. Tonight I was honored to see the Community Council of the 77 Precinct recognize him for his contributions to both our country and our city.
Just a testament to what happens when someone believes in a child’s potential. Thank you Dave Watson. Thank you Nephew Ruben.