Members of the Jersey City and New Providence Police Departments came together today to present a $5,000 check to Cathy McBride, the mother of slain Jersey City Police Det. Melvin Santiago.
Each year the New Providence Police Department raises money from local businesses and individuals, as well as from their local Policemen’s Benevolent Association, during the annual Law Enforcement United Cycling Tour in Washington, D.C.
July will be the five-year anniversary of when the 23-year-old Santiago was ambushed and killed in a shooting at a Walgreen’s Pharmacy at the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City.
In an interview with HCV, McBride said that she will donate the entire $5,000 to her son’s foundation.
“We’ve helped over 1,000 individuals and families now since starting the foundation with the help of the Jersey City Police Department. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve given food baskets and gift cards, and picked up either a turkey or ham to give to families – whichever they prefer,” McBride began.
“Over the Christmas holiday, while we’re driving around delivering big bags of toys to children, if we see a kid on the street we have a gift for them, too. We’re trying to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, because that was important to Melvin.”
As expected, even with the onset of time, the loss of her son is still hard for McBride.
“Honestly, it’s been torture. It’s nothing short of a nightmare daily. I miss him so much, the last thing I said to him was the same thing I said every night to him, ‘I love you, be safe, and I’ll see you in the morning.’ Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see him until he was passed. Life is not the same. Nothing is normal, but we’re moving forward. I’m not moving on because I can’t move on, but I can move forward because I have to.”
She elaborated that through the work of the foundation, and the type of support that she received today from these two police departments, it provides comfort to her to go forward.
“It absolutely brings comfort, I don’t know if ‘easier’ is the word, but it definitely brings comfort knowing that I have all this support, and they’re always there. If I need anything they’re there, and then when I don’t even know it, they’re there and then something amazing like this happens. So I’m looking forward through this gift of helping more kids than we would have been able to,” McBride added.
Joe DiParisi, a patrolman with the New Providence Police Department, was a leading figure in starting fundraising efforts for fallen officers.
He said he was honored to provide the gift to Melvin’s mother.
“It was very moving. This is what we strive for. We’re really proud to be a part of it. A lot of businesses and residents in New Providence really stepped up with donations, and many of the businesses raised thousands of dollars for us even before we went to Washington, D.C. to take part in the Law Enforcement United Cycling Tour,” said DiParisi.
And in his opening remarks before the $5,000 check was presented to McBride, Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said that JCPD will never forgot Santiago’s life and service.
“This is kind of a happy day, it’s not a sad day, because we’ve been celebrating Melvin’s life for so long, and we told Melvin’s mom and uncle that we would never forget. And we’ve held up to that promise because he exemplifies everything that is … Jersey City Police Officers,” said Kelly.
We live streamed the event to our Facebook Page, which can be viewed below: