NORWALK, Conn. – Cesar Ramirez was given a warm, poignant send-off Friday at Norwalk Police headquarters, his sudden retirement marked by calls of “We love you.”
“I still believe God does things for a reason,” said Ramirez, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. “This is another reason, another test for my life. This new endeavor.”
Video by Harold Cobin at end of story
The crowd included city officials, numerous community leaders and many retired Norwalk Police officers, including former Deputy Chief Ashley Gonzalez, who flew in from Texas. Gonzalez is now chief of the Austin Independent School District Police Department. The brief ceremony was followed by a gathering at the St. Ann Club.
Ramirez has been a Norwalk Police Officer for 32 years and has served on the Norwalk Housing Authority since 1992 and is its chairman. Mayor Harry Rilling gave him a key to the city, calling it a special honor that “very, very few people” have received. State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), calling Ramirez “an instantly recognizable face” at any Norwalk public function, expressed best wishes from the Connecticut General Assembly.
“You’ve always demonstrated you’ve always demonstrated class, professionalism and above all, a gentleman,” Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said.
“You know, standing here, it became very clear to me that the strongest one amongst us is Cesar,” Rilling said. “What grace, what courage, and the way you have lived your life. You’re an inspiration to us all.”
“Just care for each other,” Ramirez said. “Respect each other as you like to be respected. Do anything without expecting anything in return. God is good, God is love, God is grace and God is here. I do respect science but I highly respect that the last word is God.”