AKRON-- Jonathan "Russ" Long, 51 was remembered on Monday as a police officer who showed just how strong he really was after a crash in 1991 that left him permanently paralyzed and unable to speak.
Long was on patrol in July 1991 when he became involved in a high speed pursuit in which his police cruiser crashed.
He died on August 15, 2013 of cancer after becoming an inspiration and an example of courage to even the strongest of those who crossed his path in the 22 years since his crash.
He was eulogized by Akron Police Chief James Nice who called him a strong and dedicated police officer.
"I want to thank Russ for his service to the Akron Police Department. He is, he is the bravest police officer I ever met," said Nice.
"He set a standard, and for every one of us in blue today," said Akron Police Chaplain Bob Denton, in a ceremony at the Donovan Funeral Home in Tallmadge.
Denton called Long a "magnet around which other strong officers revolved."
"He was just an extremely strong guy, extremely brave and didn't complain about it, just accepted it as part of a police officer's duty and I don't think I have met a braver guy. I know I haven't," added Chief Nice, following Monday's services.
Retired Akron Detective Frank Martucci and his wife spent endless hours with Long and said he was not only brave, but witty and intelligent.
"He had a smile on his face from ear to ear. Even during the darkest hours when he was in pain, he wanted no pain medication; he just was a tough cop, a good man," said Martucci, who added, "There a lot of heroes in the world. We got to watch one for 22 years."
In the 22 years since his accident, Long had attended police activities, fundraisers, even carried the Olympic torch.
"I remember he told our past sheriff Drew Alexander, he said 'you know if my accident can save at least one other officer's life, then it won't be for nothing,'" said Denton.
Long leaves behind his mother, who helped care for him, two daughters and a son.
"I think that's fair to say," said his youngest daughter, Jessica, who was less than two years old at the time of her father's crash.
"As his daughter, for him to have so much sacrifice about his life, I mean as a cop and as a brother and a father, just everything else he was what he was supposed to be to the max and it's just great that he's being remembered for that," said Long.