By Dan Rizzo
I first got know Mickey when I joined the City Council back in 2000. He immediately made it known to me where his priorities lied- public safety and children. As fate would have it, our priorities lined up perfectly. From that point on, we spoke all the time.
I think back to when I assumed the job as Mayor in 2012, I could count on Mickey to stop in each and every week to offer his advice and drop off the hermits that he would get from Luberto’s Bakery. Of course, all work came to a screeching halt when Mickey made his entrance! I could definitely count on his ongoing assessment of the Revere Police Department, as well as reminiscing on how much we both valued our military service. As proud as I am of serving as an active duty sailor for six years, my military service pales in comparison to Mickey’s. An accident as a paratrooper left him with scars and injuries that he would live with forever. And somehow, he wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to serve for anything in the world.
A lot of people may know that Mickey was a standout athlete. Many may know that he was a WWII decorated Veteran and member of the 11th Airborne Division and Special Forces Group 5 where as I mentioned earlier, suffered injuries that plagued him for his entire life. A traumatic leg injury led to 17 surgeries to the same leg over the course of his life. Others will remember his many years of service to the Revere Police Department as a detective in the Narcotics Unit. He spent some of that time as a detached member of the RPD assigned to the Attorney General’s office. And while he was passionate about his service and contributions he made to his country, the Commonwealth, and his city, the two things that drove Mickey most was family and the children of our community. We talked about it all the time.
I spent a lot of time with Mickey talking to kids and about the negative effects of drug use and how we could help them to really value their futures. In fact, his relentless war against drug abuse transcended into his signature voice mail message which went something like this; “Hi Dan, it’s ‘Mickey Say No,’ give me a call when you can”. Whether it was at his annual Labor Day gathering with the Revere High School Football team, in the classrooms discussing gateway drugs and how it can lead to more serious addictions, or in impromptu casual conversations with kids he’d meet around the city, he always did everything he could to help guide the youth of our community into leading happy, healthy, productive lives. While it cannot be quantified, I believe his efforts were rewarded with many, many success stories.
Mickey loved his family and talked about how his mother and father were the most important people in the world to him, and how we should all value and cherish our relationships with our parents. There was never a time when we spoke where he wouldn’t ask about my entire family. Of the many people who were fortunate enough to really get to know Mickey, he cared not only about us, but our families as well.
I can’t help but think about his final words whenever we’d end our conversations; “Remember, I’m the wind at your back and I’ll talk to you down the line.” Those words had meaning to him, and those words have more meaning to me than he can ever imagine. He will never be forgotten.
Dan Rizzo is a former mayor of the City of Revere, City Councillor for the City and candidate for Mayor in the 2019 election.