Warrington, PA – Abington Police Officer Bryan Rickards died on Aug. 6, following a nearly two-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Officer Rickards, 48, was diagnosed with ALS – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – in February of 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
At the time, he’d been serving the Abington Police Department for 19 years and four months.
His family, department, and community rallied behind him as he underwent treatments and did his best to live life as normally as possible.
“In fact, Bryan continued to work during the early stages of this horrible disease,” Abington Police Chief Patrick Molloy said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Prior to his diagnosis, Officer Rickards was even awarded for having worked nearly 17 consecutive years without taking a sick day.
“Officer Rickards was a warrior until the end, and he served as an example of the consummate public servant,” Chief Malloy said.
Officer Rickards passed away at his Warrington home on Aug. 6, surrounded by his wife, Cindy, his son, Gavin, his daughters, Abigail and Emily, and his best friend, Abington Police Officer Tom Nyman.
“He was just the most funny, witty person,” Officer Nyman told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’d make you smile no matter what. But when you were working, and things got bad, he could be a tough guy.”
Officer Rickards joined the Abington Police Department in 1996, after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1988 through 1992. He went on to graduate from the Montgomery County Police Academy in 1997.
A decade later, he joined the department’s K9 Unit, where he began working with K9 Ransom. Later, he was partnered with K9 Ivan, who has since retired from the agency and continues to reside with Officer Rickards’ family.
“He and his K9 partner are who you wanted backing you up when things got dicey,” a fundraising account established to assist the fallen hero’s family read. “His dedication, enthusiasm, and professionalism he showed towards our department made everyone who worked with him here a better officer themselves.”
“His contagious smile and pointed sense of humor put smiles on everyone’s faces even when you were having the worst day,” the page read.
During his 21-year career, Officer Rickards served as a DARE officer, field training officer, honor guard member, emergency vehicles operation instructor, major incident response team member, and as a member of the Montgomery County narcotics task force, according to his obituary.
“Over the course of his career, Officer Rickards has been recognized with numerous commendations for valor and going beyond the call of duty,” his obituary read. “[He] was a devoted father, and above all, loved spending time with his children.”
In 2017, Officer Rickards’ coworkers came together to help the officer and his family take a trip to Disney World, the Abington Patch reported.
Officer Nyman said that Cindy plans to establish a foundation to help ALS patients and their families in the future, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Officer Rickards was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Abington Police Officer Bryan Rickards, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.