DEPUTY'S OBSERVATIONS: Remembering Colleagues Who Are No Longer With Us (Part 2)
By Frank Hinkle
Good Afternoon friends of Eric Ramirez, family members, reservists, military personnel, members of the Sheriff’s Department, Tracy, Chase and Isis.
My name is Terry Perley; I have been asked to represent the Sheriff’s Department and convey the feelings, hopes, and memories of the department’s members toward Eric Ramirez. It is truly an honor to stand here and speak to you today about Eric. If you will permit me, I have a little story to tell about Eric’s days at the South Bay Office.
We placed a memorial for Eric Ramirez & his family outside the locker room at the Chula Vista Courthouse Sheriff’s Office. (Photo by Deputy Larry Messersmith.)
The locker room is a special place. It’s where you prepare to start your shift, and it’s where you end your shift each day. But it’s more than just a place to store your uniforms. This is where you prepare yourself to go “In Service.” There is camaraderie there. And if you blow it… if you made some bone head move… if you’ve done something really stupid this is the place where your partners are going to talk to you about it. And it takes guts to walk in there wearing a red Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey on Super bowl Monday, especially when your locker is right next to a deputy who is the worlds biggest Raiders fan. But Eric wore his Bucs jersey all the time. That took guts, and we respected him for it.
But the locker room is also where we talk about our wives and families. How was the baby doing, how much sleep did you get last night. Eric would sometimes talk about his parents; “How did our parents do it,” he would say. Eric’s parents raised three kids while his father worked and went to school to become a minister. Not only did Eric’s parents manage it, but they raised three very nice kids, too.
Eric was like that; he was a doer from the very beginning. Eric would always try his hardest even if it meant that he had to endure hardship. Eric performed his duties with a smile and a sense of humor. There was never any doubt that Eric was a team player and willing to assist whenever and however he could.
And speaking of team, there was never any doubt from his very first day in South Bay what football team Eric loved. For him it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Eric was proudly wearing a Bucs jersey on his first day in South Bay and was wearing a Bucs jersey the day he left to go to his military assignment. The last words I heard Eric say as he walked out the door to leave that day were “Go Bucs”.
I would like to share with you some of Eric’s words from Iraq. These are excerpts from his many letters he sent to the South Bay Office.
April 16, 2003 Eric writes, “Hey Gente! Hello to my family at South Bay. Well we’re in Kuwait right now. Man, is it hot! So hot you don’t even want to move! Tracy is two and half months pregnant! So, keep praying for us.”
May 11, 2003: “We’ve been up and down Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division; we’re patrolling and doing E.P.Ws. That’s about all I can tell you but if you watch CNN or Fox News they can tell you what we’re doing.”
July 9, 2003: “June 15-26, I was in Wisconsin. My unit was adamant about me coming back, so here I am back in Iraq. She’s (his wife Tracy) been having some complications as before but the doctors are watching her closely. I can’t help but worry, but what am I going to do? Just do my job out here as best as I can.”
October 6, 2003: “Well Tracy’s due in early December. Maybe they’ll let me go for that. It’s starting to cool off out here. Getting mail is great! Go Bucs.”
3 November 2003: “First of all thank you all so much for the care packages. The guys loved it with goodies we love the socks and the wipes. We’ll be staying at a prison called Abu Graab Prison we’ll be just North of Bahgdad International Airport. It’s starting to cool off here, which is good. So what is new in Chula Vista? I heard about the fires. Man, that’s horrible. One guy here lost his house.”
24January04: “Well tomorrow will be one year officially mobilized. I was able to take emergency leave for Tracy’s C-section. Chase Charles Ramirez was born on 2 December 03. On 23 December 03 it was determined that Chase needed surgery. He was discharged from the hospital the evening of 25 December 03. I’m hanging in there, but I really worry about my wife. But it’ll work out. Keep sending mail and thank you for your support. (signed) FSO Ramirez.”
As we hear and read the letters Eric has sent, we all get a real sense of just what kind of man Eric Ramirez was. He was a compassionate loving father first, a caring and considerate husband, a tough as nails warrior for his Country and friend to all who knew him. Eric, it was a pleasure to work with you and to know you. I thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for your Country and for all of us.
Tracy, Isis and Chase, you will forever be in our prayers. God Bless You.
And as Eric would say, “Go Bucs”.
Stay safe, and stay alert.
Tributes to Eric Ramirez: