The word "hero" is among the most overused words in the English language. Sergeant Michael Cassidy was a hero. Sgt. Cassidy was courageous in life and in his battle against the COVID-19 virus that eventually took his life. That battle ended for Sgt. Cassidy on Wednesday. He never stopped fighting.

A Marine, Sgt. Cassidy volunteered to serve his country during Operation Desert Storm. It took Cassidy and the rest of the Coalition of the Willing just 43 days to rout Sadam Hussein and liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. Upon returning home, Cassidy joined the New Bedford Police Department in 1994.

Cassidy served in the Uniform Patrol, Narcotics, Criminal Investigations, and Firearms divisions. Acting Police Chief Paul Oliveira noted "Sgt. Cassidy loved being a police officer and went above and beyond to impact the lives of others in a positive way.”

“This is a tremendous loss to our department and to the City of New Bedford as we all know Sgt. Cassidy was a proud Officer who served the people of this city with his whole heart," Oliveira said.

Cassidy was bestowed with numerous awards for his heroism, receiving the New Bedford Life Saving Awards in 2006 and 2018, and numerous citations and commendations for his military and police service from the City of New Bedford, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Senate and Congress/Recognition of American Red Cross Real Hero’s Award.

The next time you are tempted to question the integrity of a member of the New Bedford Police Department, think of Sgt. Michael Cassidy. There are many others just like him who serve their country and their community on a daily basis.

Thank you for your service, Sgt. Cassidy. You made your family and your community proud. We will remember you with pride and honor.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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