CLEVELAND-- The family of Cleveland Police Officer Vu Nguyen is remembering a man with a full heart and a belly to match.
He collapsed during a training exercise and passed away on July 6.
“He was such a generally happy content person,” said Bac Nguyen, nephew. “My Uncle Vu, he could out eat us all."
“We are tiny, but we all eat that’s for sure. People always ask us, where do you put it?” laughed Tam Asher, sister.
“He was always the favorite of all the cousins, we all grew up in Cleveland with him. Even when he didn’t have much, he did everything to give us gifts, takes us places, take us to Cedar Point,” Bac said.
Vu was one of 16 siblings that came over from Vietnam in 1975. His oldest sister Tam said Vu was only 5 at the time.
“They were the first Vietnamese refugees in Cleveland,” Tam said.
He grew up in Cleveland, graduated from Lakewood High School and attended Ohio State. His passion for being a police officer was in his blood.
“My father was the chief of police in Vietnam and he didn’t want Vu to become to become a police officer. H wanted Vu to go to college and do a different career. But he always loved police, he always loved to do that,” Tam said.
“My uncle Vu, he was a natural guardian and protector. You couldn’t find a better fit for policeman. That’s what you would want a policeman to be like,” Bac said.
He was also loving husband and a father of two beautiful little girls.
“The hard part is going to be in three months, three years when every little thing reminds them of dad. So fortunately, he has a big family, he also has this huge community, so many police officers live in the neighborhood,” Bac said.
It's a community filled with so many lives Vu protected and so many lives Vu touched.
“Any people we’ve met, they just love him. It just gives us comfort to hear the stories, about what he’s done for people, it’s very comforting to hear that,” Tam said.