Loved ones and community members are set to gather Wednesday to pay their respects to a Worcester police officer who drowned in a pond while trying to rescue a 14-year-old boy who also drowned.
Calling hours for Officer Enmanuel “Manny” Familia will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Catholic Church, located at 44 Temple St. in Worcester.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. John’s Catholic Church with a burial to follow.
Familia’s younger brother, Eric, said he is not surprised that his brother rushed into Green Hill Pond on Friday in an attempt to rescue the drowning teen.
“It didn’t matter if he had the uniform or not. He would have gone in there for anyone,” he said.
Familia was a good swimmer and worked as a lifeguard when he was younger. Despite that, the 38-year-old husband and father lost his life in the water.
“It’s just a tragedy that he had to be the one … and he had to leave us too soon,” said his brother.
His cousin, Alex Maracallo, a Worcester police officer himself, said Familia always wanted to become a police officer.
“We came from the Dominican Republic. English is our second language,” Maracallo said. “This is the land of opportunity and we wanted to show our community our gratitude by serving.”
The five-year veteran’s selfless devotion to the community and his family is how his loved ones plan to remember him.
Familia lived up to his name — “family” first. He met his wife Jennifer at church when they were teenagers. He changed his work schedule so he could be in the stands for every single one of his son Jovan’s baseball games.
He even selected badge number 267 to symbolize the day his daughter was born and the seven letters in his last name.
“I want him to be remembered as an amazing father, a great brother, a loving son, and a brother not only to myself but all the men and when he served with,” Eric Familia said.
He added that the Worcester police force has proven they will forever remember his brother and stand for him by showing up to cheer on his 13-year-old son at his playoff game Sunday.
They all know it could have been one of them that lost their lives responding to a call.
“That just shows you the brave men and women we have,” Eric Familia said. “He was definitely one of them. He’s a hero.”
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