Smithtown officials were asked to assist in handing out over 600 hero sandwiches at Panico’s Market in Nesconset. The annual Heros for Our Heroes initiative is led by Donato Panico and his team each year as a way of saying Thank You to the people who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. This year, Panico’s market prepared over 600 three foot long heros to distribute to Police and Fire Departments serving Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and New York City. Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo, Councilman Tom Lohmann, Superintendent of Highways Robert Murphy and Town Clerk Vincent Puleo devoted their mornings to assisting Panico’s Market in this effort.
“I was humbled when Donato asked us to help him, as I hold a very personal and dear place in my heart for all those first responders who worked tirelessly at Ground Zero to help families like mine have some closure. I applaud the tireless devotion of his team that goes into this operation every year. It’s my honor to help Heros 4 Our Heroes today and I look forward to doing it again in November and December with my daughters.” -Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo
This year’s operation begins months prior, planning and coordinating with PBA representatives and various volunteer fire departments across Suffolk and Nassau Counties, Queens, and New York City. The Heros 4 Our Heroes team of volunteers devoted the week prior to ordering produce and spent three days and nights without sleep, building and packaging more than 600 three foot long heros. Cases of Iced Tea were loaded up to go with each order.
“Witnessing all of the Police Department officials pull up and load over fifty giant heros in their pickups… I can personally relate to the appreciation and gratitude on their faces. It’s great medicine for the soul. As a former NYPD Detective and as one of the thousands who spent months at Ground Zero, I can not thank Donato and his amazing team of Volunteers enough for devoting their time to caring for our law enforcement and first responders. I’m honored to be here” – Councilman Tom Lohmann
About Heros 4 Our Heroes:
The Heros 4 Our Heroes non profit organization began when Donato Panico, owner of Panico’s Community Market decided he had to do something in the wake of the 9/11 Terrorist attacks. On Sept. 12, 2001, Donato loaded up a food truck and drove to Ground Zero, where he proceeded to give out meals to search and rescue workers. He cooked from the mobile catering truck for ten days at the World Trade Center site. Today, he continues to show his appreciation for those first responders and those that have served our country, through his annual Heros 4 Our Heroes initiative and the annual Thanksgiving and Holiday Turkey drive which is held at the Northport VA.