Appreciation : Remembering Community Legend Mickey “Say No To Drugs” Casoli

The city of Revere is mourning the loss of one of its most legendary residents, Michael “Mickey” Casoli, who died on July 20, 2019 following a brief illness.

A retired Revere Police detective, Mickey was known for his involvement in many community activities and projects. But most notable in a lifetime of achievement that included his decorated service in the U.S. Army during World War II, Mickey was devoted to advancing his “Say No To Drugs” campaign, frequently speaking out to youths about the harmful effects of using illegal drugs.

In this 2016 photo Mickey Casoli gave his annual speech urging Revere High football players to “Say No to Drugs.”

That message ultimately became his middle name as the former Revere High School standout athlete was always introduced at local events as Mickey “Say No To Drugs” Casoli.

 Taking pride in his lifelong dedication to physical fitness, Mickey possessed a firm handshake along with a distinctive voice, engaging smile and warm personality, but even stronger that that was his loyalty to friends and associates. If Mickey was in your corner, he was always in your corner.

Local officials remember Mickey Casoli

“We have lost one of the city’s staunchest advocates and most colorful personalities,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “I’ve heard a lot of people refer to Mickey Casoli as a ‘legend’ in this city, and that is quite accurate.

“Mickey devoted his life to law enforcement, promoted athletics, and tirelessly led the fight against the scourge of illegal drugs in our community and in our culture,” noted Arrigo. “He touched thousands of lives through his relationship with the City of Revere, and we long remember his gravelly voice and his plea, “Say No To Drugs.” Mickey Casoli always fought for the good about the City of Revere, and personified our resolute character. We have lost a friend, but we are a better community thanks to that friendship.”

Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo never missed one of Mickey Casoli’s “Say No To Drugs” addresses to the Revere High football team that were held at a Labor Day football practice each year.

“Mickey gave so much to our community,” said Rizzo. “I will always remember his hard work and dedication to the children of our community for decades and trying to set them on the right road and lead them to a successful life. He was a guy who was committed to serving our community as a true professional and he served his country admirably.
“Mickey’s primary focus was on young people and doing whatever he could to help them lead healthy and successful lives,” added Rizzo. “He’s going to be missed and his absence will be felt as time goes along.”

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said Casoli’s love of this city was unequaled.

“If you were asked to name someone that really loved and cared about the city of Revere, the name of Mickey Casoli would be one of the first that would come to mind,” said Powers. “As a police officer assigned to the drug unit early on, Mickey saw the damage that drugs were doing to families and relationships and a result he developed a passion to speak out against drugs.”

Ward 2 Ira Novoselsky said he “literally grew up with him on the Avenue (Shirley Avenue).”

“I don’t know how many times he kicked off the corner,” said Novolselsky. “He was a great, great guy. I knew Mickey when he was a partner with Elmer Bidder. I’ll always remember Mickey. He always supported me and I always supported him and we loved each other.”

Tributes from Beacon Hill

At the Statehouse in Boston, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent paid tribute to Mickey Casoli’s local campaign against illegal drug use and his service to the country.

“Mickey was a long-time friend, and I will miss our discussions about Revere at Massachusetts events,” said Speaker DeLeo. “He was a pioneer in the battle against drug use. He was a great patriot and champion of his community. My thoughts are with his family.”

Said Rep. Vincent: “We lost a true community legend in Mickey “Say No To Drugs” Casoli. As an honorable WWII veteran, a retired Revere Police detective and proud son of Revere, Mickey instilled the value of staying away from drugs and the importance of being a leader, not a follower, in to generations of Revere youth. He will be dearly missed, but will not be forgotten in our memory.”

Recognizing his Career in Law Enforcement

Mickey Casoli had a long and distinguished in law enforcement, serving as a detective in the Revere Police Department. He was often called upon to assist county and state-level officials, such as the Attorney General’s Office, in investigations.

Long after his retirement, Mickey stayed in touch with his former colleagues in law enforcement. He would often regale audiences with crime-fighting stories from that era in the city’s history.

Police Chief James Guido said he was a new officer in the Revere Police Department while Mickey Casoli was serving as a detective.

“I’ve known Mickey my whole life, even as a young boy before I was on the Police Department,” said Guido.

Guido said Mickey truly cared about the youth of Revere.

“The passing of Mickey Casoli is definitely a great loss to our community,” said Guido. “He loved Revere through and through. From the day he retired, he stayed active in the community. He cared about the youth and dedicated his life to keeping kids on the right track. He was very compassionate about his “Say No To Drugs” campaign. He was always involved in city events. The Revere Police Department has lost a good man.”

Revere High Sports’ No. 1 Supporters

From his sponsorship of sports trophies to his involvement with the Revere Parents Club in the Thanksgiving Breakfast to his loyalty to the RHS football program, Mickey Casoli held a special place in the hearts of all Revere athletes.

Revere High School Director of Athletics Frank Shea recalled Mickey Casoli visiting the AD’s office to welcome him to his position.

“He sat down in the office and told me what he was all about in terms of his support of our program,” said Shea. “Going forward we had a great relationship. He was obviously a big supporter of our awards night sponsoring several awards. Mickey would often call to see how we were doing and how he could help our athletes. He was just a great guy and a great friend to our city. It’s going to be a huge loss.”

Shea said he and head football coach Lou Cicatelli are planning a special tribute to Mickey Casoli for the upcoming season, including a moment of silence at the Patriots’ first home game in September at Harry Della Russo Stadium.

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