CLEVELAND – Blue ribbons are tied on just about every pole outside of Cleveland’s Third Police District.
It’s a quiet, beautiful way, for the men and women inside to honor Patrol Officer Vu Nguyen, who died Friday. Nguyen collapsed during a training exercise a few days earlier.
“He would have just loved this because he just loved being a police officer,” said Officer Tony Tomaro.
Tomaro and Detective Aaron Reese were both partners with Nguyen and say they are still in shock.
“He was a guy who was high on life,” Reese said. “He had a contagious presence about him.”
Nguyen immigrated to the U.S. during the Vietnam War with his parents and 15 siblings. City officials say he dedicated his life to serving others.
“He was just a very kind person, it didn’t matter if there were 30 inches of snow on the ground and it was 4 a.m., if someone had a flat tire, we were stopping to change it,” Reese said with a laugh. “But, he was also the same guy that would chase down the bad guy.”
And while Tomaro said Nguyen loved being an officer, he loved his family more.
“He loved his daughters so much and his wife,” Tomaro said.
Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, who lived near Nguyen and his family, said he was a wonderful father and great person.
Reese said while Nguyen was in the hospital he made him a promise.
“I knew he could hear me because he squeezed my hand,” Reese said. “I told him, not to worry, I told him we would take care of his family. And I know, I am confident he is still protecting all of us.”
To donate to the GoFundMe account in Nguyen's honor, click here.