WORCESTER, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There was an outpouring of support in Worcester on Thursday as fallen city police officer Enmanuel ‘Manny’ Familia was laid to rest. This past Friday, the officer tried to save a teen drowning victim at Green Hill Park and both tragically died.
At his funeral today, the husband and father of two was hailed as a hero.
Between the calling hours on Wednesday and the funeral Thursday, the law enforcement community of Massachusetts came out to honor Familia, including officers from Springfield, Chicopee, and Easthampton, but even members of the community who were not police officers said the 38 year old had an impact.
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“This is something that only Manny can do - put on a show - and I just want to say thank you and God rest his soul,” said Familia’s brother, Eric Familia.
The Worcester police officer died in the line-of-duty, but family and friends paid their final respects by reflecting on the joy he exuded in life.
“Everything and anything he did, regardless of whether it was difficult or easy, you already knew that the smile was going to shine through,” said Familia’s brother, Elvin Familia.
The husband and father of two died while trying to save a teen who was drowning. It was news that shocked Jeannie and Manuel Azevedo, who came out to Familia’s funeral, despite meeting him just one time.
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“You’re looking at six months removed and here we are,” said Manuel Azevedo of New Bedford, adding that “My daughter got married in January and Manny was the best man…He’s family oriented, he was funny, he had a genuine like for people.”
The Azevedos told Western Mass News they genuinely liked him too and wanted to pay their respects along with the thousands of others who came to Worcester
“He deserves that honor and we're grateful to have met him that one day…He loved someone so much that he put someone before his life and he died a hero,” said Jennie Azevedo of New Bedford.
Again, Familia leaves behind his wife and two children. Donations can be made to
- The Familia Family Memorial Fund
- c/o Worcester Police Department Federal Credit Union
- 805 West Boylston Street
- Worcester, MA 01606
- Make checks payable to ‘Familia Family Memorial Fund’