Blood drive in honor of fallen officer

July 22, 2009 4:03:17 PM PDT
Mary DiNardo is a brave woman. In what must be the darkest time of her life, she gathered herself and came out to donate blood in her husband's memory.

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She is now a widow with 3 small children, all under the age of 5.

"I said if I was half as strong as her, I'd be a great chief," Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey said.

Last Thursday her husband, Detective Mark DiNardo, was shot in the face, wounded with 4 other officers while trying to arrest Hassan Shakur.

Shakur opened fire with a shotgun; Detective DiNardo would fight for his life, but ultimately lost that battle on Tuesday, a day shy of his 38th birthday.

"Mark was a gentle giant. He was a great family man. I want to thank everyone for coming out," fellow officer Emilio Ramos said.

It was an overwhelming response to the blood drive in his honor, as officers he served with, officers from other cities, to people off the streets he protected came out to donate.

Louis Vega was Detective DiNardo's partner for the last 2 years. He can't stop wondering what if he had been there that day.

"I wish I was there. I ask myself that question all the time, but..." Vega said.

But there will never be a good enough answer. His brother is gone. An officer, a gentleman, and an organ donor who will in death continue to save lives.

"Out of all the organs he donated, I wish someone could get a transplant of his personality because it's so sad. Someone so dynamic has left us," Vega said.

To learn more about how you can donate to a scholarship fund for the DiNardo children, please visit www.jcpoba.com.

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A wake for Officer DiNardo will be held on Thursday from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the McLaughlin Funeral Home, 625 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City.

Funeral services will be held on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Aedan's Church, 800 Bergen Avenue, Jersey City.


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