Thoughts from a Best Friend - David Levin

Russel and I were born just mere days apart in the same hospital in a small town in Belarus. Yet, we met here, halfway across the world in one of the biggest cities, during our first year as engineering students. To me he was not only my best friend, my brother but also my hero, our hero.

It is easy to see the reasons he joined and why he loved this job. It was a flawless complement to his personality and empathetic character. It provided him with the means to have a direct positive impact on the community he was part of, on the city he adored, on its people whose lives he saved and made safer.

Russel was an altruistic person with unrivaled compassion. Whether it was teaching me how to properly ride a motorcycle, or teaching neighborhood children how to play basketball, or giving his all to bring the Lacrosse team to victory, Russel was always there.

Five nights a week he battled in Brooklyn, he gave us his all until that dreadful night where our dear brother paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to make this a better place for all of us to live in.

Naturally cheerful and positive with a unique sense of humor he could bring a smile to anyone's face. I remember one time when I was sad, Russel came over and handed me a yellow donkey that would vibrate when you pulled its tail… It made me laugh at the silliness of it all and things just seemed brighter. That was his magic being able to make people happier.

Our parents came here with a dream to provide us with a better life, a dream that Russel will no longer be able to carry on. We all feel cheated that such a great person was taking away from us so young. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for having Russel in my life for I know he has made me a better person. Leonid and Tatyana, ”thank you" for bringing Russel into our lives; for raising such a great human being and for instilling values in him that are scarce amongst the rest of us.

Russel was radiant with life and boundless energy. Traits he did not hesitate to share with every person he met. He thrived from helping others, being around many kinds of different people and surrounding himself with fun loving people. That is why we are all here today, to honor for the last time, the person that touched and brightened every single one of our lives.

Russel was an extraordinary person who I’m proud to call my friend. He united us all and charmed us with his rich and noble personality. We are all truly grateful for having met him.

It came as no surprise to all us who knew Russel when at just twenty one years old and surging with vivacity he decided to join the very first lowest paying academy class of the NYPD. It was his senior year in College when this talented honor student chose this new direction for his life; one that took him away from lucrative successful careers in engineering and business to patrolling the streets of New York City in an endless struggle against crime and corruption.

I once read what makes a hero is not how he died but how he lived his life…. In a world where ethics and goodness have been distorted, Russell found his way to the path of righteousness and virtue. Well, my dearest friend, your actions in life have without a doubt secured you a place in heaven.

Russel, your dreams will never be forgotten, your life will not end in vain, and your passion will never be extinguished.

-Dmitry (David) Levin