PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The Capitol Theatre hosted a full house Thursday night for a star-studded benefit concert to honor New York City Police Detective Joseph “Superman” Lemm of West Harrison, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2015.
The 45-year-old member of the New York Air National Guard was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for valor, the nation’s fourth highest military decoration, earlier this month.
Lemm is survived by his wife Christine, son, Ryan, 4, and 17-year-old stepdaughter, Brooke Chaco. Brooke, a Harrison High School student, sang ovation-inspiring renditions of “Climb” and “Empire State of Mind,” accompanied by American Idol finalist JAX on piano.
Lemm and another member of his 105th Base Security Squadron from Stewart Air National Guard Squadron in Orange County were killed in the December attack along with four members of the U.S. Air Force. Lemm also was a 16-year veteran of the NYPD, working in the Bronx.
Sharing the Capitol Theatre stage were Saturday Night Live alum Joe Piscopo and the New York Tenors, a singing group comprised of NYPD officers. As tenor Daniel Rodriguez sang “America the Beautiful,” artist Scott LoBaido speed-painted a portrait of the slain hero in a Superman shirt with the American flag as a backdrop, which he gave to Lemm’s family.
“This is a special one just for him,” LoBaido said.
Throughout the show, video montages of Lemm with family and friends provided a backdrop for performers.
The event was sponsored by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which helps families of New York City police officers and firefighters who die in service. The family of NYPD Detective Wenjian Liu, shot dead with Officer Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn in December 2014, attended Thursday's concert; the Rafael Ramos Foundation donated $1,000 to the event.
“All the ticket sales and proceeds from tonight are going to the (Lemm) family” said John Hodge, Siller Foundation's chief operating officer. “It’s a small way for us to help them after the sacrifice they have endured.”
Christian Arango is a member of Purchase College’s Community Reporting Team