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'God called your dad for special detail in Heaven': Funeral held for fallen Worcester officer

WCVB Boston logo WCVB Boston 6/10/2021
a group of people in uniform: officer salute as the pallbearers carry officer familia out of the church following the funeral service. © Provided by WCVB Boston officer salute as the pallbearers carry officer familia out of the church following the funeral service.

About 10,000 police officers from around the country gathered during the funeral of fallen Worcester police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia, who died last week while trying to save a boy from drowning.

a man wearing a uniform: Fallen Worcester police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia © Worcester Police Dept. Fallen Worcester police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia

A horse-drawn carriage brought Familia to St. John's Catholic Church for the mass as officers who lined city streets saluted the procession.

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Familia drowned Friday at Green Hill Pond while trying to save a 14-year-old boy from the water. The teenager, Troy Love, also died. Two other people were pulled from the water that day.

Familia is survived by his wife, Jennifer; two children, 17-year-old Jayla and 13-year-old Jovan; and his parents.

Familia’s brother, Elvin, said the officer was the light of their lives and there was nothing he loved more than his family.

"He brought so much joy to our lives in so many different ways. But nothing brought him more joy than his most precious possession — his children. Jayla and Jovan, you were and will continue to be the light of his eyes. Every time he spoke of you his eyes lit up. God called your dad upon for a special detail up in Heaven that only he can fill."

Elvin Familia thanked the Worcester Police Department for supporting their family.

"They understand the meaning of true loyalty and family. Your sacrifice and devotion to your job makes you special. Putting on a uniform and going out to do your job with no guarantee you will come home to your family makes you special," he said.

The 38-year-old officer had served on the Worcester Police Department for the past five years after serving on the police departments at Clark University and Quinsigamond Community College.

Familia's brother spoke about a side of the officer not many of his colleagues may have seen. He said his brother often visited him in Florida, where he would request spa appointments and give his wife beauty tips.


Video: 'God called your dad for special detail in Heaven' (WCVB Boston)

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"This dude was the prettiest tough guy you'd ever come across," Elvin Familia said.

On Wednesday, thousands of people paid their respects to Familia during a wake at St. John's Catholic Church. After the wake, Familia's casket was escorted from the church to the Mercadante Funeral Home.

"His name was fitting, you know. 'Familia,' which translates to family. He was a family man," said Anthony Ortiz, a family friend whose brothers went through the police academy with Familia. "His kids were his world. He worked hard for them, made sure that they had the proper resources and support that they needed. He was exactly the kind of father I strive to be."

Bethania Rodriguez, vice-consul at the Dominican Republic Consulate in Boston, was among those who attended Wednesday's wake. She presented a flag to Familia's family.

"He gave his life serving this country and this community, and he's considered a hero," Rodriguez said.

Last weekend, about 100 Worcester police officers attended Jovan Familia's youth baseball game as a show of support. Jovan played for his club team just two days after his father died.

Later in the day, family members and fellow Worcester police officers stood behind Jovan as he took to the mound at Polar Park during the Worcester Red Sox game to throw out the first pitch.

Members of Jovan Familia's club baseball team waited outside St. John's Church during Wednesday's wake as a show of support for their teammate.

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