ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz was laid to rest Monday. A funeral was held at Blue Cross Arena in his honor, where thousands paid tribute to his life.
A local nonprofit focuses on the grief and loss of officers who have died in the line of duty. Genesee Valley C.O.P.S., standing for concerns of police survivors, is made up of volunteers who have suffered the loss of a loved one or colleague in law enforcement.
The group’s executive director, Ellen Guernat, was a friend of Officer Mazurkiewicz through work for 25 years.
For many years through the organization, Guernat has remembered those lost in service. A portrait of Officer Mazurkiewicz now sits on her desk to be placed on a growing memorial.
“Shock. It was shock when I first heard it was him. All I got was the last name and I said, ‘You mean Tony?’ It’s devastating any time that an officer is lost, but Tony was such a kind spirit that everybody who met him liked him,” said Guernat.
Members of Genesee Valley C.O.P.S. have often experienced the loss of a relative, friend or colleague in the line of duty. The nonprofit offers immediate and long-term support for those who may be grieving in roughly two dozen counties throughout Western New York.
“Our chapter will be there. It’s made up of survivors who have been there and who understand what they’re going through. They’ll be there to help them and if they need help, we’ll hold them up,” said Guernat.
The nonprofit holds a candlelight vigil each December to honor fallen officers.
Guernat says Mazurkiewicz would routinely volunteer to help out, as she says that’s the kind of person he was. This year, she says, will be especially difficult.
“Tony wanted to be there and wanted to honor fallen officers, and did a heck of a job doing it,” said Guernat, “The vigil is always hard. This one is going to be a little harder because this year, Tony would have still been there helping honor them, and now we’re honoring him.”
A walk will also be held in Officer Mazurkiewicz’s memory Saturday at the Greece Ridge Mall. The event will be hosted by the nonprofit Operation Patriot.
Proceeds will go to the Mazurkiewicz family.