Police officers and firefighters share camaraderie and good times.
STORY: James Combs PHOTO: Matthew Gaulin
As a New York City police officer, protecting Pope John Paul II was one of Jack McTigue’s most memorable duties.
“My biggest fear was something would happen to him on my watch,” says Jack. “Fortunately, nothing bad happened. To this day he was one of the most special people I’ve ever met. He radiated happiness and was a joy to be with. He was great, and I don’t call many people great.”
McTigue spent 23 years and three months with the NYPD before he retired as a sergeant in 1987. Though he enjoys life after law enforcement as a retiree in The Villages, he still maintains a strong camaraderie with police officers and firefighters alike. He’s the president of the Police and Fire Retirees Club of The Villages, a 242-member club founded in 1996. The club is open to all police officers and firefighters who live in The Villages.
“It’s always great to meet people who have the same interests, backgrounds and stories to tell,” Jack says. “We can open up to one another because we’ve all experienced difficult times in our careers that only other police officers or firefighters can understand. One for all and all for one — that’s what we’re all about.”
There is no shortage of pride and patriotism in the club. During Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15, the club members present a wreath at Veterans Memorial Park of The Villages to honor fellow officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. They also hold an annual gathering at St. Mark The Evangelist Church to read the name of each victim killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Unfortunately,” Jack says, “too many people forget 9/11.”
Members also hold many social activities throughout the year, including picnics, golf outings and a Christmas party. Jack, who recently was named president, plans to add several activities.
“One thing I want to do is visit local attractions, which would allow us to spend an entire day of fun together while getting to know each other on a more personal level. I would also like to have ice cream socials in the summer. I want this club to be enjoyable for both members and their spouses.”
The club meets from September through June on the second Tuesday of each month at 7p.m. inside La Hacienda Center. For more information, call Jack at 205.7101 or visit policeandfireretireesclub.us.