Porigow said he recalled how difficult it was to deal with the loss of 37 Port Authority cops in the attacks — as well as hundreds of other first responders — while working 12-hour shifts for days on end.
But Porigow also had another powerful memory: He and his colleagues were better able to cope after police from around the country — including the Boston Police Department — came to their aid at Ground Zero and throughout New York City, he said.
So the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, of which Porigow is a trustee, decided this week to send a nine-officer relief team to Boston to provide food and a place for first-responders to relax a few blocks from the blast site. The NYPD's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association also sent a four-officer team. Both arrived in Boston late Tuesday evening.
"We wanted to know what we could do," Porigow said. "They came to support us. We knew it was time to pay them back. We knew it was the right thing to do — that it was a call of duty in the brotherhood of law enforcement."
NYPD Officer Joe Strong, of Queens, added: "We knew that our brothers and sisters in Boston that responded on Sept. 11 would need our help now."
The Port Authority PBA will serve beverages and hot meals — such as hamburgers and hot dogs — until at least Friday, Porigow said. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association also will provide drinks and snacks until at least Friday. Both relief stations are operating 24 hours a day.
These efforts have offered valuable support during a trying time, several officers said.
"It's like they have your back," said one officer, who declined to be named as he was on duty and not permitted to comment.
The officer said he had visited the station and eaten two "absolutely delicious" cheeseburgers.
"They actually tasted like sirloin," he said. "It's almost like you're being fed by your family."