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UMass Chan partners with fallen officer’s family to enhance water safety efforts in Worcester

By Colleen Locke and Bryan Goodchild

UMass Chan Medical School Communications

March 30, 2022

Worcester Police Department Officer Enmanuel “Manny” Familia drowned trying to save 14-year-old Troy Love, of Virginia, at Green Hill Pond in Worcester last June. Love, who was on vacation with his family, did not survive either.

A new water safety initiative is now underway to equip Worcester emergency vehicles with rescue tubes and teach city youth swim lessons in Officer Familia’s honor in hopes of saving lives.

On Tuesday, March 29, Officer Familia’s family announced that UMass Chan Medical School has covered the cost of 300 rescue tubes for emergency vehicles and swimming lessons for children. The donation totals $25,000.

“Today is a special opportunity for us to pause, recognize and convey our gratitude to the first responders of Worcester, those who put themselves in the line of service to our community each and every day,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Officer Familia committed his life to protecting others and today’s donation by our medical school ensures that Officer Familia’s legacy lives on. When we heard of the family’s intention to honor Officer Familia’s life and uphold his memory by purchasing tubes to place in emergency vehicles, there was no question that all of us at UMass Chan Medical School needed to help.”

“If one life can be saved by our effort, Manny’s death will not be in vain,” said Elvin Familia, Officer Familia’s brother and the president of the Manny 267 Foundation, while presenting tubes to the Worcester Police Department. The foundation gets its name from the late officer’s badge number. The tubes, dubbed Manny Tubes, also carry a piece of the officer; his signature is on them.

Elvin Familia said the rescue tubes can carry the weight of up to five people at a time. The tubes were designed to fit in a police cruiser without being bent and otherwise damaged. Swimming lessons at the Greendale branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts are underway for ACE (African Community Education) students in Worcester and lessons for students at Belmont Street Community School, which is near the pond, will start soon. In April, officers will take a refresher course in water safety instruction and learn how to properly use the devices.

“We know nothing will restore our loss, but Manny’s legacy will not be forgotten,” said Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent.

Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. directed his closing remarks to Familia’s wife, Jennifer.

“I think back to that awful day talking to Jen. I said to her, ‘You’re going to see this city wrap its arms around you.’ And that’s exactly what happened,” Augustus said. “What I wasn’t expecting was that you were going to wrap your arms back around this police department and this community. And that’s what this foundation is doing. It’s reaching out and giving a big hug back.”

Related media coverage:
Telegram & Gazette: ‘Manny Tubes’ continue the legacy of Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia
Spectrum News: ‘We found the light that shines in our community:’ ‘Manny Tube’ donations made to Worcester Police Department
MassLive: “Manny’s legacy will not be forgotten:” The Manny 267 Foundation donates flotation tubes to Worcester Police Department in honor of Officer Manny Familia
NBC10 Boston: Family of Officer Who Drowned Trying to Save Teen Seeks to Prevent Future Tragedies
This Week in Worcester: WATCH: Manny 267 Foundation presents “Manny Tubes” to WPD