WORCESTER (CBS) – Thousands of police officers, friends and family came to Worcester Thursday to pay their final respects to hero Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia.
Officer Familia died last Friday after he jumped into Green Hill Pond to try and save 14-year-old Troy Love who also drowned.
Police officers lined the 2.5 mile procession route as Officer Familia’s casket left the Mercadante Funeral Home on Plantation Street and was taken to police headquarters. There it was put on a horse-drawn-carriage for the rest of the journey to St. John’s Catholic Church on Temple Street for the funeral.
Several roads leading to Temple Street were shut down for the procession as some stood on rooftops to get a look at the tribute, which was filled with officers as far as the eye could see.
Governor Charlie Baker and Congressman Jim McGovern were among those who came out to show their support for the Familia family.
“That could have been my father. It breaks my heart,” a young man told WBZ-TV. He was one of two sons of Worcester Police officers holding a police flag a block away from the church.
Officer Familia’s teenage son Jovan was one of the pall bearers as the coffin was brought into St. John’s, which was packed with police officers and officer Familia’s family and friends. On top of his casket was a folded American flag and his police hat.
Elvin Familia said his brother was “one of a kind” and that Manny loved serving the Worcester community.
“My brother loved hard. Very hard,” said Elvin. “He didn’t know any other way.”
But, he added that nothing brought his younger brother more joy than the officer’s two children, 17-year-old daughter Jayla and 13-year-old son Jovan.
“You were and will continue to be the light of his eyes,” Elvin told them. “Your dad loved the two of you more than life itself.”
“God called your dad upon for a special detail up in heaven that only he can fill.”
Elvin also paid tribute to Familia’s wife Jennifer, saying she was the love of his brother’s life. He also thanked the city of Worcester and the police department, saying the officers “understood the true meaning of loyalty and family.”
Speaking about Troy Love’s family, Elwin added that, “Our family’s here to support you, continue to heal together, as we both lost a big part of our family”.
Familia was 38 years old. According to his obituary, he was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Worcester as a young boy. He was a five-year veteran of the department.
After the funeral service, Officer Familia was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Saint John’s Cemetery in Worcester.
Donations for the Familia family are also being accepted through the Worcester Police Department Credit Union.
Checks can be mailed to:
The Familia Family Memorial Fund
c/o Worcester Police Federal Credit Union
805 West Boylston Street
Worcester, MA 01606