Jerome Domínguez had gone diving off the coast of Long Island with some police pals who were also his friends outside the job.
After exploring the chambers of a shipwrecked boat, they glided up slowly and started popping up, one after another, to take their places on their boat.
But they noticed one of them, another police officer, was missing. And, without much hesitation, Domínguez was the one to jump right back in the water.
Returning all the way to the bottom, Domínguez found his friend lying unconscious inside the dilapidated ship with insufficient oxygen left. Pulling him up, Domínguez swam toward the light of the surface, alternatively taking on and off his oxygen mask to share it with the unconscious man.
Risking his own life, Domínguez saved his pal's more than two years ago.
But it was not the first time, and it would not be the last, that the decorated New York City cop offered all he had for the sake of others. In fact, Domínguez did it regularly, whenever he encountered people in danger or on duty as a member of the department's elite emergency services unit.
Domínguez, a West Islip resident who grew up in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, was at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and, according to reports from colleagues to his family, was making his way upward in the building when the north tower collapsed. He remains missing.
One of two sons of devout Catholic parents who spend much of their time trying to spread the faith, Domínguez, 37, had his own sense of mission.
" I once told him, 'Jerome, don't strain yourself so much'," recalled his mother, Gladys Domínguez of the Bronx. " And he said, 'Look, Mommy, you save souls and I will save bodies.'"
After graduating from Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, Domínguez entered the police academy in the mid-'80s. Following his July 1985 graduation, he became a patrol officer for a local precinct in the Bronx. Two years later, Domínguez, also in the Air Force Reserve, joined the highway division.
During the following years, he became committed to his job of helping people on the roads. Even when off duty, Domínguez carried power-cutting and other tools in his vehicle to help stalled drivers or to extricate victims at accident scenes, his relatives said.
Once, while heading to Texas for Air Force training in 1999, Domínguez encountered an overturned school bus with several children inside. He quickly took charge and rescued more than a dozen children before the bus burst into flames. His feat earned him praise, and he appeared on a television news showand was mentioned in newspapers that day. The Air Force offered him a permanent job, but he preferred an offer he got from the NYPD to join the emergency unit.
" He enjoyed himself helping people in some way, morally or physically," said his father, Geronimo Domínguez, a physician who hosts a bible reading television program in Spanish. " ... He was very courageous."
Besides diving, Domínguez left time to cruise on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, sometimes along the Eastchester Bay coast near his parents' house, formerly a waterfront home and fishing retreat of New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.
In his last conversation with his father, some days before Sept. 11, Domínguez discussed the idea of a heavenly place for souls to rest in happiness after death. His parents find comfort in their strong belief that Domínguez is already there. " He loved helping others, and there isn't in the Bible or anywhere else a greater love than that, giving your life for others," his father said.
| - New York Newsday Victim Database 1/11/2002|
Police Officer Jerome M. Dominguez, 37, was appointed to the NYPD on July 8, 1985, and began his career on patrol in Field Training Unit 7. After being assigned to the Hightway District from 1987-99, he fulfilled a longtime ambition when he was assigned to ESU in March 1999. He was once named the Patrolmen Benevolent Association's "Finest of the month" for apprhending an armed man fleeing the scene of a double homicide. As a United States Air Force reservist, PO Dominguez was a highly decorated member of the 105th Security Police Force. Among his hobbies were scuba diving, competitive shooting, and motorcycle riding. He is survived by his fiance Jessica; parents Gladys and Dr. Jeronimo Dominguez; and brother Francis.
| - SPRING 3100, Commemorative Issue|
|(patch created by Dee Cook for the |
CubScout Pack 233 Memorial American Flag Quilt)
|(patch from Barnum Woods Elementary School Quilt)|