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“He was one of our A-Team” – Name of the late Deputy Sheriff Anthony J Pasquarello of Saugus is added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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By Mark E. Vogler


Anthony J. Pasquarello, the late deputy sheriff from Saugus who died in December 2021 after contracting COVID-19 from his work in the Essex County Jail, received a special tribute this week as his name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“He was one of our A-team and we miss him,” Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger said of the 15-year veteran correctional officer who is believed to be the first member of the Sheriff’s Department to be so honored.

“We want to remember Anthony in a positive way. He was a good correctional officer and was a friend to many. He was a very popular officer and very well respected,” the sheriff said.

“Being a correctional officer is a tough job. You need someone with basic common sense. Somebody who can maintain order and safety in the jail. That’s huge. Somebody who can treat the inmates with respect and dignity. That was Anthony. He was a really great guy who the young officers looked up to.”

Coppinger and other representatives of the Sheriff’s Department accompanied the Pasquarello family to the nation’s capital this week to participate in special ceremonies honoring Deputy Pasquarello and many other law enforcement officers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. “We’re here to support Anthony. We will be here for several days in his honor,” the sheriff said.

We’re here to try to help him any way we can forever. And we’re also here to try to help his family get through this,” he said.

The Pasquarello family, Sheriff Coppinger and members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department attended the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. Pasquarello’s young son Vincent was joined by Pasquarello’s mother Norine and Sheriff Coppinger in laying a wreath at the monument. The Pasquarello family also attended the Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall on Monday.

With the sheriff by her side, Norine received The Supreme Sacrifice Medal of Honor on behalf of her late son.

Norine’s husband, Mario, was also part of the family entourage from Saugus who traveled to Washington, D.C. Anthony’s sister, Lisa Marie Pasquarello, with daughter Aubree and Lisa’s fiancé Steven Pizzano were there, too. Also attending were Maria Pasquarello, Anthony’s other sister, with her daughter Ariana; Vincent Pasquarello, 9, son of Deputy Pasquarello; and Rio Mendoza, fiancée of Deputy Pasquarello.

Norine, who is a nurse, said she was a strong advocate for people getting the COVID-19 vaccine. “When COVID came out, I begged my family – ‘you got to get the vaccine. You gotta do it,’” she told The Saugus Advocate in an interview this week.

“I’m a nurse. In order for me to work, I had to get the shot,” she said. Despite her precautions, she contracted COVID-19 twice and nearly died.

But she recalled that Anthony didn’t take her advice. “He hated the smell of beer. He hated the smell of cigarettes. He was a health nut,” Norine said.

“He told me, ‘Mom, I’m not going to get the COVID shot because it’s not going to touch me.’ I told him Covid doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, green or yellow. It doesn’t care about your nationality, whether you are a doctor or a lawyer,” she said.

The sheriff noted that the deputy was a pillar of great health. “He ate very healthy. He went to the gym every day. He was in great shape and took very good care of himself. He had direct contact with 24 inmates who had tested positive for COVID-19,” the sheriff said.

“Unfortunately, he contracted COVID on the job and died. He did it because he was in there trying to help people and help maintain the safety and security of everybody,” he said.

“We had a tough time with COVID. At one time, we had 80 inmates that had COVID. A lot of our officers did contract COVID. I had it. A lot of people had COVID twice. We had a total of 795 staff related COVID cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Several folks had it multiple times and that number includes that,” he said. “When it first came out, we had inmates who shared tooth brushes, because they wanted to get COVID because they thought it would let them out of jail.”

The Pasquarellos’ visit to Washington included a special moment when the late deputy’s sister, Lisa Marie, received a diamond engagement ring from her fiancée, Steven Pizzano. He kneeled down right in front of Anthony’s name on the memorial and proposed. “He wanted Anthony to see it,” Norine said.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Coppinger said the Sheriff’s Department is doing its best to keep Anthony’s memory alive. Earlier this year, the department got a yellow lab and named it “K-9 Pasky” after Anthony’s nickname. “This is a comfort dog that visits with staff and is also made available to cities and towns in the area. So, Anthony’s memory is kept alive by Pasky helping officers every day,” the sheriff said.

“We also have a framed photo of Anthony in our lobby with an End of Watch date of Dec. 9, 2021. Anthony was a tremendous guy and we will make sure that his memory lives on,” he said.


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