Officer Anthony DiPonzio of the Rochester, New York Police Department has been chosen by the public as a finalist in the 2010 America's Most Wanted All-Star Contest, sponsored by Sprint.
Rochester's Dayton Street -- a known hot spot for illegal drug sales -- became the scene of a life-changing moment for Officer DiPonzio on January 31, 2009. Just one year on the force, he responded to a call for back-up and learned the real dangers of life patrolling the streets. When he arrived at the scene, everything seemed to be calm. But as he turned to leave, a shot rang out -- and Officer DiPonzio was struck in the back of the head. The unseen gunman was later identified as a fourteen-year-old boy.
Officer DiPonzio's chances of survival were deemed slim, but he fought through emergency surgery and survived the very crucial first night in recovery, and has continued to recuperate and grow stronger since then. Officer DiPonzio has been recognized for his selfless service, receiving the Purple Heart. He's set his sights on returning to duty in the near future to continue to protect and serve the residents of Rochester.
Officer DiPonzio is the second of eight weekly finalists to be chosen by the public in this year's AMW All-Star Contest. Any member of the public can nominate and vote for their favorite first-responder online. The nomination process is simple: Go to AMW.com to fill out a short form naming your top choice and explain what makes this person an All-Star.
Each weekly finalist will be profiled on America's Most Wanted (Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT on FOX). Through online votes, the public will choose the grand-prize winner. In May, AMW Host John Walsh will present the 2010 AMW All-Star winner with a check for $10,000 at the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series™ All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nominations are open at AMW.com until noon (ET) on April 3, 2010. Members of the public may vote for their favorite first responder once a day, every day. Finalist voting runs through April 11th and the grand-prize winner voting will run April 15th-May 3rd. Please visit amw.com/allstar for more information.