A hero of democracy finally got his due.
The Board of Elections honored poll coordinator Stanley Denker this week for remaining at work on Election Day even after he was mugged and brutally assaulted on his way to a Greenpoint polling site that morning.
Denker, 73, received a Proclamation for Extraordinary Service on Tuesday, telling assembled reporters that he experienced “a lot of pain” from the episode.
“As you can see right now, even my cheek is still swollen and eyes are still swollen,” said Denker. “But the pain of not being there, especially with a very important election for governor, would be reflected back to the Board of Elections. That pain would have been greater.”
You decide: On Nov. 2 at 5:20 am, two thugs viciously grabbed Denker as he turned the corner at Calyer and Leonard streets on his way toward the McGuinness Senior Center polling site.
One perp put Denker in a headlock while the other looked for his wallet — but the thug began punching Denker in the face when he couldn’t quickly find the billfold.
The perps fled when a coworker screamed, leaving Denker, dribbling blood on his jacket and election forms, on the sidewalk.
When an ambulance came a few minutes later, a medic patched him up and police urged Denker to go home, but he refused, heading to the polls for a 14-hour shift until voting ended at 9 pm.
Board of Elections President Julie Dent said that the board chose to honor Denker because of his extraordinary commitment.
“He put democracy and voters ahead of his own self by continuing to work after he was mugged and beaten,” said Dent. “He did a wonderful job.”
The heroism also earned Denker the front page of last week’s Williamsburg Courier — and an important footnote in the ongoing history of American democracy.