Christian Varvaro, the son of fallen Port Authority Police Officer Anthony Varvaro, took the mound at Citi Field on Wednesday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a New York Mets game. This special honor was part of an event hosted by the N.Y. Police and Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, supports the families of New York City’s fallen first responders.

Officer Anthony Varvaro, a native of Staten Island and Curtis High School graduate, was well-known in the Staten Island baseball community. Before joining the Port Authority Police Department, he enjoyed a six-year career as a Major League pitcher. He retired from baseball in 2016 to serve at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan. Tragically, Officer Varvaro was killed on September 11, 2022, in a head-on collision caused by a wrong-way driver on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Jun 7, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Varvaro was joined by four other children of fallen heroes, all of whom participated in the ceremonial first pitch. The event, which brought together over 1,000 family members of fallen NYC police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, was a heartfelt tribute to their loved ones.

Answer the Call was founded in 1985 by Mets Hall of Famer Daniel “Rusty” Staub. The organization provides financial assistance and a support network for families of first responders killed in the line of duty. The charity covers the cost of tickets for the families, ensuring they can enjoy events like the Mets game without expense.

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Elizabeth Edgar, the widow of FDNY Firefighter George Edgar, who died in the line of duty in 1976, shared her thoughts on the event: “Game & Family Day is a time when we all get together and share the memory of Rusty and our fallen family member. It shows us that they are never forgotten.”

Answer the Call offers immediate financial aid of $50,000 to families who lose a loved one in the line of duty, followed by annual stipends of $10,000 for the remainder of the widow or widower’s life or until a child turns 25. Since its founding, the organization has distributed over $175 million to support these families.

For more information or to donate, visit answerthecall.org.

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