88-year-old NYPD receptionist retires after nearly a half century on the job

CARROLL GARDENS, Brookyn (WABC) -- Surprise! Marie Gambardella thought she was coming to the 76th Precinct in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Wednesday to have lunch with commanding officer, Capt. Megan O'Malley.

Oh, was she wrong.

The 88-year-old was stunned to see all of the current and retired officers who came to say goodbye during her grand retirement celebration.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill called the Brooklyn native a "pioneer".

47 years ago, Marie was part of a pilot program. The department hired front desk receptionists as a way to better community relations at the time.

Marie was born and raised in Brooklyn and has lived in the same Carroll Gardens neighborhood most of her life.

She has five kids and 11 grandchildren. Described as a woman who gets things done, Marie rarely missed a day of work.

Marie wasn't really ready to retire but realized it's for the best.

She will now spend more time with her children and grandchildren, athough she did lean over and tell me, "I still have my volunteer shield."

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