Westborough says ‘thank you’ to police, firefighters

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Event honors fallen Worcester police officer

Photo by/Laura Hayes
Officer Laura Rossi poses with a child, Alex.

By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer

WESTBOROUGH — Fire trucks and police cruisers filled the parking lot of First United Methodist Church June 17 as community members turned out to get to know their local first responders and say “thank you.”

The event, which was called “Love for Life Savers,” was organized by the Westborough Police Department and First UMC Pastor John Taylor.

Taylor said he hopes to hold the celebration every year. 

“This is something we can do as Westborough and the community come together and celebrate that we made it,” he said. “We need to do more community events where we take the time to listen, have fun and say thank you.”

Besides getting to know law enforcement, kids had the chance to test out sirens and sit on police motorcycles before getting their faces painted and participating in giveaways. 

Taylor wanted to hold an event thanking and getting to know local first responders. 

“We take for granted the police and firefighters,” he said. “Basically, when you call 911, what happens? You trust they’ll be coming in minutes and, if need be, risk their lives.” 

The event was held a week after the funeral for Worcester Police Officer Emmanuel Familia, who drowned while he was trying to save a 14-year-old boy in the Green Hill Park pond within the city. 

The boy, Troy Love of Virginia, also drowned. He was one of three boys who were struggling in the pond. The other two boys were brought to shore.

Taylor grew emotional when speaking about Familia. 

“He wasn’t thinking of himself,” he said. “He was thinking about that young man, and he gave his life.”

Seeking to set this event up while recognizing Familia’s ultimate sacrifice, Taylor connected with Westborough Officer Joseph Cibotti, who reached out to other first responders in town.

Besides the Westborough Police Department, there were environmental police, Westborough firefighters, Massachusetts State Police, World War II vehicles and Westborough Department of Public Works vehicles.

“This is way more than my expectations,” Cibotti said

Taylor said it’s been a tough couple of years for police officers nationwide, in addition to working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And rightly so for those who made terrible, awful life-changing mistakes,” he noted. “But primarily, they’re just doing their job.”