Patricia Woroniecki held a single red rose in one hand and shielded her face with the other at a Friday morning ceremony commemorating Suffolk’s fallen correction officers and deputy sheriffs.
She scanned the bronze plaque outside the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead for her father’s name — Emil Ross — then wiped away tears and briefly shut her eyes as she laid her rose in the dirt.
Friday’s ceremony had law enforcement officers standing at attention while loved ones of the fallen waited their turn to drop red roses at the memorial honoring correction officers and deputy sheriffs who died while active members of the department. The ceremony honored those who have died since 1887.
“It’s been 31 years but it never goes away,” Woroniecki said.
The Coram resident remembered her father as a generous man who would always work double shifts. Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ross of Ridge died in April 1986 when his heart failed at the age of 59.
“I’ll remember him as a great man. I couldn’t ask for a better father,” she said. “He was very giving. He would give anything to anybody.”
The memorial service came days after the Nassau County Police Department and New York State Police held their own ceremonies honoring officers killed in the line of duty.
Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who helped lay a flower wreath at the memorial before a gun salute performed by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, said the day was a solemn one as he remembered friends who have died.
“They were people that I worked side by side with,” DeMarco said. “Throughout my 23 years here I’ve met a lot of good people. I remember their funerals and I also remember the good times working side-by-side with them. A lot of good people.”