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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

At “Broken City” screening, Mark Wahlberg honors Atlanta officer

Broken City" star Mark Wahlberg, left, and Atlanta police detective Patrick Apoian, founder of Humble Heroes, which supports ill or injured officers, at this week's advance screening. Photo credit:ouya Dianat/Allied Integrated Marketing/20th Century Fox

Broken City" star Mark Wahlberg, left, and Atlanta police detective Patrick Apoian, founder of Humble Heroes, which supports ill or injured officers, at this week's advance screening. Photo credit:ouya Dianat/Allied Integrated Marketing/20th Century Fox

It’s not unusual to see public safety officers at red-carpet events. They’re typically providing security, though. They’re not generally the ones holding microphones and posing for pictures.

But that was the case at the Regal Atlantic Station theater Monday night, at an advance screening of “Broken City.”

The crime thriller stars Russell Crowe as the powerful and manipulative mayor of New York and Mark Wahlberg, who attended Monday’s event, as a detective who’s not always sure just what he’s investigating. An eager audience packed the theater to see the movie ahead of its Jan. 18 release date and to see Wahlberg, who’s also one of the film’s producers.

“This is my town. I love Atlanta,” said the genial actor, who posed for photos with fans and obliged a few with hugs. “This is a good, God-loving, God-fearing town.”

Here’s a gallery of photos from the event.

Although the crowd was eating him up, Wahlberg said the night wasn’t all about him. Rather, he said he was pleased “to be here tonight to recognize the real heroes.” With that, he handed things over to Patrick Apoian, who joined the Atlanta Police Department in 2002 and in 2010 started Humble Heroes, a non-profit organization that provides moral and financial support to public safety officers who are ill or injured.

Wahlberg greets members of the APD

Wahlberg greets members of the APD

“Maybe I’ll get to play you in a movie some day,” Wahlberg said.

“They’ll have to ugly you up first,” Apoian quipped.

A New York native with a cousin and uncle in blue, he was always drawn to a career serving others. Working as a police officer and then starting the foundation felt like a calling, not just a job.

“I always wanted to do something to make a difference for people,” Apoian said. “Humble Heroes helps wounded police officers. We help out what we call the brotherhood.”

Less than a year after Humble Heroes was incorporated, Apoian said he found himself “on the other side of what we do.” He was seriously injured in a July 2011 hit-and-run incident while investigating a robbery. He’s still out on disability, having gone through seven surgeries and facing at least one more. Throughout his recovery Apoian has remained active in helping his foundation help others. He was humbled to take center stage on Monday night.

“It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here tonight,” he said.

Former Falcons player Warrick Dunn, who also was honored, surprised Apoian with tickets to Sunday's game.

Former Falcons player Warrick Dunn, who also was honored, surprised Apoian with tickets to Sunday's game.

Former Atlanta Falcons player Warrick Dunn, now a minority-share owner of the team, also was honored Monday night. Dunn’s mother, Betty Smothers, was a Baton Rouge, La. police officer killed during an armed robbery when Dunn was 18. His foundation, which provides homes to single parents and offers a children’s bereavement program, honors her memory.

“Any time I meet a police officer I say ‘thank you,’” Dunn said. “I always tell them, ‘be safe.’ I lost my mom. I’m sure they have families they want to go home to.”

Like Wahlberg, he directed the spotlight back to Apoian. Following the presentation of a plaque saluting Humble Heroes, Dunn made a surprise presentation of his own.

“The Falcons are playing the Seahawks this Sunday,” he told Apoian, handing over an envelope containing tickets to Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game. “We want you to help us rise up.”

22 comments Add your comment

kay

January 8th, 2013
12:44 pm

Definition of classy guys. Mark Wahlberg, Warrick Dunn and True Hero Officer Apoian.

Truth be Told

January 8th, 2013
1:19 pm

Mark is just about the biggest phony in Hollywood. Convicted felon, served time in prison, former drug addict. Google wikipedia and his name and read about the racial epithets he screamed at blacks and then what he did to a Vietnamese man. What he said about Atl in the article above proves he knows nothing about Atl and is here just to put money in his pocket. Period.

ya mama

January 8th, 2013
1:26 pm

Get over it. Mark Wahlberg did those things when he was a teenager. He has grown into a fine actor and does a lot for charity.

Plus, he is hot.

TC

January 8th, 2013
1:42 pm

Truth be Told-I love self righteous people like you. Are you not a different person now than you were 30 years ago? Is someone else not allowed to be? Does all your information come from Google and wikipedia? If so, you may want to broaden your horizons a bit.

Dana F. Blankenhorn

January 8th, 2013
1:48 pm

Great to see Det. Pat up and about, after getting run down near my house back in 2010. Until he was mangled there, he was a regular at the Kirkwood Neighborhood Organization meetings and our KNO patrol officer. He is a great guy, a great cop, and a great ad for community policing. He deserves all the praise he gets, and then some.

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People Do Change

January 8th, 2013
2:06 pm

When we were young, I am sure we all did something we aren’t proud of. Get over it & move on. The only beings that can’t change are child molesters & serial killers. So, unless he fits into that catergory, LEAVE MARK WAHLBERG ALONE!! I STILL think he’s SEXY & I’m Black!!

Audrey

January 8th, 2013
2:33 pm

Love Mark Wahlberg … definitely turned his whole life around. We all make mistakes, but how we turn the corner and move on from them shows the calibre of a person we can become.

GaPeachy

January 8th, 2013
2:57 pm

So good to hear Warrik Dunn is still doing well even though his football career is done, he has always been such a stand up guy and does a lot of charity work. Great example for some of these other athletes!

WTF

January 8th, 2013
3:43 pm

Warrick Dunn is such a great example on how to lead your life.

KIM

January 8th, 2013
4:49 pm

Agree with everyone about Wahlberg: great actor and guy. And Warrick Dunn: we need to see more of you! Our kids need you as a visible role model. You are a class act! And to the Detective: thank you for your service! ATl needs more like you.

Susie

January 8th, 2013
5:09 pm

Mark has apologized and expressed regrets in interviews for his criminal past and racist and inhumane actions towards others when he was a teen in Boston. He has grown as a man, entertainer, actor, producer, think about how long it has been since the CK underwear ads and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in the early 90s. It is called maturity. Great to learn about Humble Heroes and always great to hear about Warrick’s charity!

GODAWGS

January 8th, 2013
5:27 pm

Warrick Dunn is such a great guy. We need more like him.
Mark Wahlberg – please – he is an adult. People change. Truth-be-told – I hope you aren’t the
same person you were as a teen; or maybe you are.
Great job, Mark.
Det. Apoian – a true hero.

Bacchus

January 8th, 2013
7:01 pm

Wahlberg has had the benefit of experience of growing up in South Boston. Not an easy life growing up, sure he slipped up a few times, stole some cars, got into drugs, etc. But give the guy credit for turning himself around, recognizing his talents, and making a pretty successful career out of playing characters who may as well have been him in his earlier years. Giving a little back to the Law Enforcement community he reguarly tangled with is a display of class.

The outspoken broad from The Gradys

January 8th, 2013
7:36 pm

Pat, so glad to see you are up and about with good spirits. I know Zone 6 sorely misses you keeping them on their toes and showing the baby cops how it’s done.

I got a couple off Boulevard for you, but we’re amateur night in comparison! So glad to see Mark and Warrick spotlight what you are doing.

Don’t stop what you are doing and always remember that all of us out here appreciate what you do and are rooting for you.

dave

January 9th, 2013
6:00 am

Truth be Told, we all do dumb stuff when we’re young and stupid and naive. I’m sure you have. Nobody’s perfect. He turned his life around and cleaned it up and no one can argue with his success right now.

John Wolfinger

January 9th, 2013
8:15 am

Pat – so glad to see that world is getting to know what great things you have done for us here in Zone 6 as well as for the total law enforcement family in metro Atlanta. I’m looking forward to the day you will be able to return to work. Keep healing!

Fan

January 9th, 2013
8:28 am

I think Mark Wahlberg has changed a lot in his career. Yeah he was a felon, but people change. He has a wife and children now, so he has responsibilities. In my opinion, he is doing really well where he is now. He is a great actor and a great person. Not a “phony”.

KmE

January 9th, 2013
9:05 am

tbt: All I have to say to you is….
Grow up
Stop being so selfish
We have all had our own issues and have resolved them. You, on the other hand, have some development to do…
That is Truth Be Told…. For real….

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does

January 9th, 2013
3:55 pm

Truth Be Told….grow up. He has become an amazing person and turned his past into a bright and wonderful future. Cheers to Mark! I’m proud of who you are.

burntgrassroot

January 10th, 2013
10:26 am

Mark Wahlberg has made no secret of the fact that he’s a forgiven, redeemed Christian. One who has been forgiven much, loves much, and Wahlberg has turned from dissipative behaviors toward endeavoring to be a husband, father, actor, philanthropist. Wahlberg, Warrick Dunn, and Patrick Apoian are wonderful, admirable men, who graced our “Broken City”. Jesus encourages us to live in the moment, when He said at Luke 17.3, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” The One who forgives sins also said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke15.7