If anyone wanted a prime example of what the Union City Police Department seeks in its officers, perhaps few exemplified the standards better than Ricardo “Ricky” Fernandez. The 24-year veteran, who unexpectedly passed away at his Old Bridge home Dec. 26 at the age of 48, is being remembered by co-workers and friends as a devoted family man, officer, and motorcycle enthusiast.
An on-line fund set up for his family had garnered over $11,100 of its $15,000 goal as of Wednesday.
The family did not release a cause of death as of press time.
“Ricky was the first one to say, ‘We’re taking the motorcycles, and we’re gonna go.’” –Police Chief Richard Molinari
The department’s eight-person motorcycle unit made for a close knit group, with Fernandez serving as its inspiration. “That’s really where Ricky had a strong bond with his co-workers,” Molinari added.
But though Fernandez had a great love for motorized two-wheelers, his love for his wife and children was greater.
Last year, Molinari says, Fernandez approached him with a request. “Ricky had worked almost his entire career on the night shift,” Molinari explained. “And Ricky came to see me and asked me if I would consider transferring him to the day shift. He wanted to spend more time with his family.” With little hesitation, Molinari granted Fernandez his shift change. “I think that speaks volumes of the individual that he was.”
On the memorial fund page, other colleagues recalled their time with Fernandez.
“I want to thank you for creating such great memories we had when we worked together during those great 4 to 12 nights at the UPCD,” wrote Bobby Gaeta, who donated $250.
“The time[s] we spent on and off the job together were priceless,” wrote Louis Serghis, who donated $150. “You made sad days better and good days great.”
The Fourth Watch Motorcycle Club, a group that rides in memory of fallen officers, gave $1,775. “We are making this donation in the name of Fourth Watch Nation (NJ, NY, CT, & FL Chapters),” they wrote. “We hope it helps his family with their financial burden, shows them how much he was loved by his friends and brothers in blue, and helps ease their pain and sorrow.”
Fernandez’s funeral was scheduled to be held Thursday, Jan. 5 in Jersey City.
You can donate to the fund, which ends later this month, at https://www.donationto.com/The-Ricky-Fernandez-Memorial-Fund.
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org