A group of citizens have made plans to thank Col. Stephen M. McCartney for the nearly 20 years he served at Warwick Police Chief at a reception in his honor and start a fund to benefit the department.
The reception will be held Thursday, March 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. Tickets are $25 and are available at the Greenwood Credit Union, Central RI Chamber of Commerce, Warwick Beacon, Crowne Plaza and Warwick Police headquarters.
“The response has been incredible,” said John Howell, publisher of the Warwick Beacon and one of the organizers.
He said from a handful of people, the committee has grown to include former Warwick mayors, high-ranking police from across the state and a cross section of community leaders. Already, he said, there have been pledges of $7,000 to the McCartney Charitable Foundation that is officially running the reception and will serve to honor McCartney’s legacy by supporting programs and events for the betterment of Warwick Police. The foundation is filing for a non-profit designation and aims to create an endowment that would continue charitable work in years to come.
McCartney’s reputation for running a scandal-free department and as a voice for law enforcement is known across the state. The Providence department where he started his career was among the first to offer what they could to make the reception a success. In honor of McCartney, the Providence Mounted Command will be outside the Crowne Plaza. Johnston Police Chief Richard Tamburini is a member of the committee and has rallied police chiefs from across the state to attend.
The consensus of the committee is to hold an informal event where people can express their gratitude for his service, meet his family, share stories and listen to what he has to say. TV anchorman Gene Valicenti will serve as master of ceremonies. While there will be presentations, the speaking portion of the event, starting about 6 p.m., will be brief.
Tickets and donations to the charitable foundation will be available online through the Central RI Chamber website in the near future. The foundation will also have a Facebook page.
Payments for tickets and donations should be made out to the McCartney Charitable Foundation. The address is 1944 Warwick Ave., Warwick, RI.
In addition to Tamburini and Howell, other members of the committee that continually grows include former Warwick Mayors Francis Flaherty, now an associate Supreme Court Justice, Scott Avedisian and Lincoln Chafee, who hired McCartney, Peggy Oliver, Christine Harkins, Donald Morash, Debbie Rich, Sue Boyer, Lara D’Antuono, Deputy Chief Brad Connor, Amy Healey, Fr. Robert Marciano, William Palmisciano and McCartney’s daughter, Kerry McCartney-Prout.
“It’s an adjustment,” McCartney said yesterday when asked how he’s enjoying retirement.
McCartney said he’s getting to Planet Fitness a little later. He’s staying involved. He remains active with the Warwick Rotary Club and is a board member of Whit Marsh House in Providence and Bridgemark in Warwick.
On Tuesday he participated in a coalition of schools meeting held at the Warwick Early Learning Center at John Brown Francis where discussion focused on how to “wean” youth off their smart phones.