Mural Honoring Officer Who Died Trying to Save Teen Adorns Worcester Wall

Local artist Ferdinand Nazario painted a mural paying tribute to fallen Worcester Police officer Manny Familia, who died trying to save a drowning teenager at Green Hill Park

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Just a week after he died trying to rescue a drowning teenager, a fallen police officer has been memorialized in a mural in Worcester, Massachusetts.

From the iconic yellow smiley face of Worcester's own Harvey Ball to a social justice mural painted by kids with the Boys and Girls Club, local artists have turned tired and worn-down buildings into a city canvas of sorts.

Over the past five years, more than 100 murals have covered eye sores, spruced up bland buildings and beautified the city of Worcester in what amounts to a modern-day renaissance project.

"I think it makes it look better," said Jose Ramos of Worcester. "Instead of the graffiti that was before, it's art."

A massive law enforcement presence was on hand for a funeral for fallen Worcester police officer Enmanuel “Manny” Familia.

It's also a way for the city to pay permanent tribute to its heroes – like Worcester's fallen firefighters, and now, police officer Manny Familia, who died last Friday after going into the water at Green Hill Park. Familia was trying to rescue 14-year-old Troy Love, who also died in the incident.

"The more and more you hear about him, the more and more you like him," said local artist Ferdinand Nazario.

Nazario felt compelled to honor Familia in his signature comic book style – getting permission from Gala Foods to paint the wall and then working feverishly to get it done in a day and a half, in time for Familia's family to admire it following his funeral.

"It means a lot to a lot of people, and I guess that is the only real reason why I did that," said Nazario.

Members of the community have been admiring the touching tribute since it went up.

"It's someone with a pure heart who really cares, and to share his talent in such a meaningful way is so moving and such a gift to the city," said Judy Mancini of Worcester.

Fallen Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia's Funeral Program and Prayer Card

"They see this, and it inspires them, for the story – the background story and the art, so I think it's inspiration in both ways," said Angel Lopez of Worcester.

"Five years an officer, but a hero forever," Nazario wrote in the upper corner.

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