Yankees Open Their Heart To Junior

By Ray Negron

In the borough of the Bronx, the Yankees are known as the Bronx Bombers. Kids of all denominations relate to the Yankee brand more than anything else in the community. The kids in the different neighborhood all have one thing in common, they love their Yankees.
The late great George Steinbrenner was so aware of this because in his early days of owning the Yankees, he paid visits to these very streets just to find out what these streets were all about.
He saw for himself that the Bronx was burning and made a promise to himself that he and his beloved Yankees would always be there for the people of the Bronx and New York as a whole.
Last month we lost Lisandro Guzman- Felix to the perils of these sometimes horrid streets.
Lisandro was better known as Junior. He was a very popular young man that was living for his dream of someday being a police officer.
I am the father of one son who is a police officer and another son that is about to enter the police academy. I truly understand and appreciate Juniors dream. I love the fact that he was so adored by those that really knew him.
His parents Lisandro Guzman and Leandra B Felix are very proud people that loved and shared in their sons success in school and his ambition to serve his people in the field of law enforcement.
Yesterday Juniors favorite team, the New York Yankees had a ceremony in his honor before the game. They had his mom and dad on the field and and gave them a special gift ( his cadet jacket in a beautiful frame) and had them watch the game from a luxury suite. In talking to his dad Lisandro Sr. He said that Community relations director Brian Smith and his staff have been wonderful.

Leandra, B Felix, Lisandro Guzman, and Brian Smith NY Yankees

I remember once driving through the Bronx in 1974 with the Boss and when we passed a really tough area he said aren’t we lucky that we don’t have to live here and I said what do you mean, I come home to this every day. He actually looked at me very sad and said he was sorry. From that day on he would always tell that if I needed anything to always let him know.
His passion for his people in the bronx was like no one else.
When the Boss died I really worried that things would not be the same and the kids of the Bronx would suffer. However I can honestly say that if anything the Bronx Bombers have only stepped it up.
When I saw Lisandro and Juniors mom Leandra step into Yankee Stadium yesterday I was very proud of Brian Smith Debbie Tymon and all the people of the Yankees that make these things happen . This can’t take away the suffering that the parents are going through, but if they can have just one moment of peace then the job has been accomplished.
I have been to Juniors neighborhood, met his friends and family and feel good at the fact that Junior is looking down and is happy that he is sharing his love of the Yankees with his parents.
I’m sure Mr Steinbrenner has his arm around Juniors shoulder right about now.
I must give a special thank you to Lorraine Perez and Miguel Caldero JR and all of N.Y.P.D. You continue to be there, even when when you don’t have to.

Ray Negron is a Contributing columnist with The Bronx Chronicle. He also writes a column for NYSportsday.com and Newsmax. Listen To Ray weekends on ESPN 1050 Deportes Impact the Number 1 rated program on the station.
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