It's what was overheard over
and over again as police, politicians and the public gathered on Friday
to lay to rest 50-year-old Red Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy.
cars from Newark, Fort Lee, North Arlington, Jersey City and just every
municipality in Monmouth and Ocean counties lined Ocean Avenue by St.
Michael's Church in Long Branch. A sea of saluting blue, bagpipers and a
thunderous motorcycle-led motorcade sent the chief "home" in prideful
I did not know the chief; and, from what I heard and saw over the past week, that is my misfortune.
all accounts, the 27-year police vet was the people's chief. He didn't
use the badge for clout. He wasn't a bureaucrat, so steeped in paperwork
and procedure that he could no longer see and relate to the people
around him for who they are.
He lived the good life — one free
of divide-and-conquer trappings. People said it. But they didn't have
to. The love and respect that Chief McCarthy humbly embodied and shared
in his life enveloped the air on the sunny, crisp fall Friday he was
laid to rest.
A close friend said it to me once as we sat in the
car stopped for several minutes as a large, flower-laden funeral
"Now, that's what it's all about," he said,
teary-eyed over someone he didn't know. "When someone leaves this world
so loved and respected, you know they did something right and left
something special behind."
It's called a legacy.
Thank you for your very special legacy, Steve McCarthy.