SPECIAL REPORT: Sometimes it truly is a calling: In Fair Lawn Detective David Boone’s case, the opportunity to become minister of the Baptist church where his friend and colleague, Officer Mary Ann Collura, was shot and killed, was something that even semi-retirement couldn’t allow him to ignore.
Fair Lawn PD Detective David Boone,
Pastor Van Riper Ellis Broadway Baptist Church
“I intended on staying that way until my police retirement in December 2015,” Boone told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“Then in November 2011 I was asked to fill in one Sunday at [Van Riper Ellis Broadway Baptist Church] because the interim pastor was going to be away. I preached on Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls in Jerusalem…. a miracle story of the rebuilding of the Holy City in a very short time.
“After the service several members of the congregation asked me if I would be interested in the possibility of becoming the pastor, as the pastor there was retiring.”
Boone, the outgoing PBA Local #67 president and a former U.S. Army Special Ops chaplain who served in Kuwait, already had plenty of responsibilities with the department, the union and several other Baptist churches where he preached.
Still, “I have to say that I was very excited at the thought of it,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
He submitted his resume – and, in keeping with his personality, didn’t tell anyone.
The search committee looked at more than 100 potential ministers.
But there was only one true fit for the River Road church in Fair Lawn: The soft-spoken but commanding police officer who filled the pews every Sunday that he preached there.
The installation service is at 4 o’clock this Sunday afternoon: Van Riper Ellis Broadway Baptist Church 7-01 River Rd., Fair Lawn (201.791.8844)
PHOTOS: Courtesy Fair Lawn PBA Local 67
Boone’s official start date was April 17, the anniversary of the evening burned in so many people’s memories – and not just police officers’: On the lawn just outside the church, a crazed gunman shot and killed Collura after a brief chase.
Each year a memorial is held on that date at that spot.
“Obviously this date has extra special meaning for me as her fellow officer and friend,” Boone told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “This is where she made the ultimate sacrifice.”
It’s nine years since Collura, disregarding her own safety, lost her life coming to the aid of a fellow officer trying to arrest the murderous ex-con. She was only 43.
The 18-year veteran was Fair Lawn’s first female police officer and a shining light throughout the community. So it seemed entirely fitting that while on the force she established a program to give elementary school child glow sticks to wear at night for safety.
But that doesn’t even begin to tell the type of officer she was — respected, admired, loved — especially working in what can be a rough-and-tumble town.
“I have often reflected on the timing and the location of this horrible moment in time,” said Boone, the founder and past president of the Officer Mary Ann Collura Memorial Scholarship Foundation, “and yet I am also comforted by the fact that it happened during Holy Week, which brings hope and peace to countless numbers of people all over the world.”
A married father of two teenaged boys, Boone is a third-generation American Baptist pastor, following his grandfather, two uncles and father into the ministry. His dad, the Rev. Donald A. Boone, served churches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey. He died in 1983, completing his service in Camden.
The younger Boone was called to own forms of service – both on the pulpit and behind the badge – at a young age. “Bi-vocational,” it’s called.
He was 11 when he wrote his first sermon and 13 when he preached for the very first time at the Broadway Baptist Church of Paterson.
Boone attended college in West Virginia, majoring in Christian Studies and fulfilling a minor in political science.
In the early 1980s, he served as a youth leader at several churches, including Preakness Baptist in Wayne and Pompton Reformed in Pompton Lakes.
Then, in January 1984, Boone began preaching, and serving as pastor, at churches up and down the Ohio River Valley. While the full-time pastor of the suburban Christ Memorial Baptist Church in Dover, Delaware, he attended Eastern Seminary in Philadelphia.
He joined the Army in the fall of 1989 and was stationed with the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (airborne) in Savannah, Georgia, for four years. He participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and won eight medals for his service.
Pastoring in the South followed, before Boone joined the Fair Lawn force in 1994. He also became pastor of First Baptist Community Church in Parsippany, where he remained for a dozen years.
Boone returned to Preakness in 2005 and remained as co-pastor until his “semi-retirement” in December 2010.
He has a host of plans Van Riper Ellis Broadway, including developing programs for and with children – a cause dear to his fallen comrade’s heart. Boone said he also intends to continue leading the church after his retirement from the force.
For many of those around him, that means often hearing: “Keep looking up!”
“My passion is preaching, reaching and helping others in many ways, many places, and wherever the Lord leads me,” Boone said. “I am overwhelmed by this opportunity to serve in this wonderful church, which holds so many memories for me, from childhood and as an officer.”
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