For former NYPD Lieutenant, John Rafferty, to protect and serve means a lot more than simply providing the community with security. He wants to make a difference.
Giving back is something that seems to be ingrained in Rafferty. Even early on in life as the president of a youth club, he was involved in giving back to the community.
Growing up with a strong catholic upbringing, he learned from a young age the impact that giving could have. “I always just try to do good and right by people,” said Rafferty.
Rafferty went through a catholic education program from grade school until graduating from St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. A path that eventually led him to join the NYPD in 1996. Upon his retirement from the NYPD, Rafferty was one of the most decorated Lieutenants, and was the recipient of the second highest honor of the police department; the Combat Cross.
But in 2009, Rafferty retired from the NYPD due to an injury and started WATCH GUARD 24/7. He transcended the hard work and dedication that he developed in the police department into his own company. Rafferty looks at security as an extension of law enforcement and puts his heart and soul into the business.
From focusing on a top-down approach in management, strong mentorship programs, and building a strong culture within the company, WATCH GUARD 24/7 has grown to become one of the largest privately owned security companies in New York, with over a thousand employees.
From WATCH GUARD 24/7’s involvement in the Summer Youth Mentorship Employment Program, charities within the inner cities, running an annual toy-drive, starting the annual Tunnel to Towers New York Golf Classic, to supporting numerous charities, Rafferty uses action to align his company with charities he believes in.
His work eventually attracted the attention of Catholic Charities, who asked for WATCH GUARD 24/7 to propose to be their new security provider on their properties. Rafferty was thrilled to be aligned with a company that had similar values to his own. “Good people surround themselves with good people. And that’s how I look at it with Catholic Charities,” he explained.
The organization, much like Rafferty, is set on making a mark in the community. Since 1899, Catholic Charities has been providing a range of social programs to Brooklyn and Queens. They operate clinics, housing programs, food pantries, and senior living homes, to name just a few.
Each year, Catholic Charities gives out the Bishops Humanitarian Award, awarded to someone recognized for impactful work within the community. When Rafferty learned he would be honored with the award at this year’s Gala, he was thrilled.
“I was absolutely humbled,” he said. “I felt that it was one of the first times since leaving the police department that I felt like I was making a difference. This is truly an honor.”
The 2023 Bishops Humanitarian Award Dinner is being held at Cipriani Wall Street on Thursday, September 28, 2023. For more event details, or to support, visit Catholic Charities’ website here.