WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Worcester Police cruisers will all now be equipped with a special flotation device that honors one of their fallen officers.
Officer Manny Familia died trying to save 14-year-old Troy Love who was drowning in Green Hill Pond back in July 2021. The Manny 276 Foundation, an organization founded by Manny's brother Elvin, helped create these flotation devices for each police cruiser to make sure they can safely rescue anyone from the water.
Elvin Familia told WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe said the goal of these new devices is to make sure a tragedy like this cannot happen again.
"It's been the hardest year of my whole family's life," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't seem real. Manny and I weren't just brothers we were best friends."
The devices, known as "Manny Tubes", are the same ones commonly used by lifeguards. They run about 40 inches long, can hold up to five people, and include a special feature to pay tribute to Manny.
"We decided to put a special touch on it which was Manny's own signature," he said. "We actually were able to get the signature from one of his old documents and the company that made the tubes were able to put it on right on the tubes so it's special."
The foundation is also providing water safety training courses to all of the Worcester Police Department's officers at the Central Branch YCMA, which holds a special place in Elvin's heart.
"It's actually the same YMCA where Manny and I grew up and became lifeguards, learned how to swim, and got our first jobs," he said. "It's a full-circle moment."
The foundation is also offering swim classes for Worcester Public Schools students.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.