HAVERHILL — Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis got a hero’s welcome last night at the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner.
Davis, a Lowell native who played a key role in the police response and investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, received a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 300 at DiBurro’s function hall, as he received the chamber’s Leadership and Valor Award.
“This award hasn’t been given in the history of the Merrimack Valley Chamber’s 125 years,” said Joseph Bevilacqua, chamber president and chief executive officer. “But we believe there is nobody more deserving.’’
Salvatore Lupoli, president of the chamber’s Board of Directors and a friend of Davis, echoed Bevilacqua’s praise for the Boston police commissioner, who announced last month that he would be leaving the post after seven years.
“Ed Davis is a Merrimack Valley guy,” Lupoli said. “Ed Davis is from the City of Lowell. Ed Davis protected us all ... He’s truly a friend of our community.”
Lupoli, who has personally known Davis since his days in Lowell, called him “a true hero” in an interview after the dinner.
“When you look up ‘hero’ in the dictionary, you’ll see his face,” Lupoli said.
During brief remarks after receiving the award, Davis recalled his friendship with Lupoli.
When he moved to Boston to accept the police commissioner’s job, Davis noted that he enjoyed a special relationship with his his friend.
“His restaurant was in the same building I lived in,” Davis said, referring to Salvatore’s on the Waterfront in Boston. “He’s responsible for some of my problem,” Davis quipped, making light of his girth and drawing laughter from the crowd.
With the main table decorated with bunting and a string of red, white and blue balloons anchoring each of the individual tables in the banquet hall, the chamber paid special tribute to veterans.