SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Keeping alive the memory of police officers killed in the line of duty is very dear to the heart of Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney, a Hometown Hero. Delaney has accomplished much with the annual “Ride to Remember,” now in its sixth year.
“It’s grown from 180 to 220, the next year it was 310, and last year it was 350. I’m hoping for 500 this year,” Delaney said.
The ride began to honor Officer Kevin Ambrose, who was killed in the line of duty in 2012. It raises money to create athletic fields in memory of close friends Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina, Springfield police officers who were killed while doing their job in 1985. Delaney thinks of them often.
“My friends that gave their lives 32 years ago, their lives cut short, and it should have never happened. Those guys should now be enjoying their grandchildren,” Delaney said.
Alain Beauregard’s widow, Doris Beauregard Shecrallah, feels deeply about Delaney’s commitment to the memory of these officers.
“I speak not only for myself, but for other survivors, whose husbands, loved ones, whose names are etched in the wall and the family members. It means a lot to me,” Beauregard Shecrallah said.
Family friend Myra Figueroa had nominated Sergeant Delaney as a Hometown Hero.
“I feel like this ride, and John himself, touched a lot of lives and put Springfield on the map as a good city that has great law enforcement and police officers who care about the city,” Figueroa said.
“He’s got one of the most giving, kindest hearts, and that’s contagious, and that’s why people want to be a part of this,” family friend Shannon Mumblo said.
John’s wife, Gabriella, told 22News that his commitments and priorities are in keeping with his character.
“He’s quietly thinking of ways he can improve my life, and especially his brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” she said.
Sergeant Delaney said that his hometown hero honor serves to call attention to the Ride to Remember and the memory of fallen police officers.
“It brings people and makes them aware that the men and women who put on their blue uniform every day put their lives on the line for them,” Delaney said.
On the morning of March 17, the Western Massachusetts Red Cross will honor Sergeant John Delaney as a Hometown Hero.