Officer Tarentino honored in second annual 5K

By Amy Lynn Fawe
Citizen Chronicle Writer
Amy@TheCitizenChronicle.com

LEICESTER — Rain didn’t stop nearly 1,300 people supporting the second annual 5K walk/run Sunday in honor of Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. , who was killed in the line of duty.

Officer Tarentino, who served on the Auburn Police Department for two years and the Leicester Police Department for seven years, was loved, liked and respected by many.

Susan Rowland, event coordinator, said, “Ron always had a smile. He would be on detail in 90-degree weather in full gear and his vest and it never seemed to faze him. I don’t know how he did it, but he always had a smile on. He and his wife, Tricia, were like the golden couple to me, he was always at events, always participating and always smiling.”

Ms. Rowland and Mrs. Tarentino teamed up with B.J. Williams, a Worcester Corrections officer, to create the event last year.

On May 22, 2016, Officer Tarentino was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Jorge Zambrano shot five times toward the officer’s back with one bullet reaching a fatal place between his gun belt and his bulletproof vest. Officer Tarentino Jr. never had a chance to shoot back. Police later found Zambrano in an Oxford residence, where he wounded a police officer and was shot and killed.

In addition to his wife of 20 years, Officer Tarentino was survived by three sons, Ronald Tarentino III, Kyle M. Tarentino and Spenser  R. Tarentino.

Herb Duggan Jr. of Leicester, said, “There are many things we can say about Ron, but they would all be the same. Ron was an unbelievable person with a huge heart and big personality. Ron was a big deal!”

Many law enforcement agencies were there to support this event, including Worcester Police Department, CEMLEC Swat, Worcester County Sheriffs Office, Worcester Swat, Worcester Police Last Half-First Place, Leicester Police, Auburn Police, and the Central Massachusetts Motorcycle Unit officers from Auburn, Grafton, Foxboro and Westboro.

Team Hoyt was also on hand. The father-son duo, Dick and Rick Jr., are well-known for running the Boston Marathon to demonstrate how to include the handicapped and disabled in events they can’t do alone. This year, Bryan Lyons pushed Rick Jr. through the rain to finish the marathon. About 15 to 20 riders and runner duos took part in Sunday’s today event. Team Hoyt’s next event will be a 5Kon May 19 in Holland.

The Sturbridge Sole Mates made this their first 5K. Rebecca Landry of Sturbridge said, “I had a scary event that happened to me, walking alone at Westville where a man was following me. At first I was just going to quit walking the trails, but then I got mad. Why should I give up something I love so much because of some jerk? So I formed The Sturbridge Sole Mates. That way we never have to be alone. Exercising and making friends — win-win! Today’s participation in this 5K was to support our men and women in uniform, first responders and those who protect us.”

All money raised will benefit the Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. Charitable Fund, which provides educational scholarships and helps people who have experienced catastrophic circumstances (illness, serious injury, death of a loved one) by providing financial support and/or donating items that can assist in their recovery. For more information on the fund, visit their website by clicking here.

Donations can be made to the Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. Charitable Fund, P.O. Box 332, Leicester, Mass., 01524.

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