Police Officer Ronald Kloepfer
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Within the tight fraternity of the New York City Police Department is an even tighter fraternity ‹ the 25 men, from officers to lieutenants, who wear the blue jerseys of the department's lacrosse team. Ronny Kloepfer, 39, a sniper with the Emergency Service Unit, was their leader. He was founder, coach and midfielder of the six-year-old team, which had a 4-2 record in the annual charity game against its arch-rival, the New York City Fire Department.

Officer Kloepfer, who played for Seewanaka High School and then Adelphi University, somehow fit the team into a schedule that included his elite police position, a side job as a contractor and the demands of a young family. His wife, Dawn, and three children Jaime, 11; Taylor, 9; and Casey, 5 were always on the sidelines, as Officer Kloepfer was when his two daughters played their games. Casey was still too young, Mrs. Kloepfer said, but had his own stick from the day he was born.

From March to May, the team practiced two or three times a week, from 5 to 7 p.m., at an abandoned junior high school near Officer Kloepfer's home in Franklin Square, N.Y. Now that he is gone, three teammates will run the team, a task Officer Kloepfer managed alone. "We don't know how he did it," said Detective Craig Carson. "We took him for granted almost."
- The New York Times 11/22/2001

No one can know exactly where police Officer Ronald Kloepfer was during the last moments of his life, his brother Michael said yesterday.

"But knowing him," said Michael Kloepfer, "he was lending a hand to someone who didn't have to ask twice."

Kloepfer, 39, was one of 23 police officers missing since the World Trade Center attacks and the fourth to be formally memorialized in the past four days. Three of those four - Kloepfer, Santos Valentin and Vincent Danz - came from the elite Emergency Service Unit.

The fourth, Glenn Pettit, of the department's video unit, was filming the attack when one of the towers collapsed on him.

Yesterday, mourners came to the small white brick St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Franklin Square to say farewell to Kloepfer. Civilians and uniformed officers stood outside the church as the Emerald Society's pipe and drum band began its slow, rhythmic drum roll along New Hyde Park Road.

Inside the church were artifacts that represented much of Kloepfer's life: his gun, a lacrosse stick, a family picture and another of him in his uniform.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani arrived to a burst of applause from the onlookers. Inside the church, he said, "I did not have the honor of knowing Ronald. But I think I know what he was like."

Referring to the aftermath of the attack, Giuliani said, "The worst part is the children. It just isn't right.

"I would like the children to know," Giuliani continued, that their father was "a fallen warrior and a patriot."

Besides his wife, Dawn, his mother and six brothers and sisters, Kloepfer is survived by three children, Jamie, 11, Taylor, 9, and Casey, 4.

Monsignor David Cassata, who conducted the service, said Kloepfer had a favorite expression. "When people need help, they call a cop," he quoted Kloepfer as saying. "When cops need help, they call ESU."

Michael Kloepfer told mourners that his brother's actions in attempting to rescue workers at the World Trade Center made him "a true American hero."

"There was never an act on our own soil more courageous or noble," he said. He said Kloepfer's grandchildren would read about Kloepfer's climbing the stairs in Tower Two of the trade center in history books.

"You are my hero," Kloepfer's oldest daughter, Jamie, then read. "You are America's hero.&quot

- New York Newsday Victim Database 10/9/2001

Police Officer Ronnie Kloepfer had a dream for his NYPD lacrosse team. It was to play its Fire Department rival in a big arena before a professional game, just like the Police Department's hockey and football teams do. Kloepfer's dream will finally come true. But he didn't live to see it. A member of the NYPD's elite Emergency Service Unit and founder of the NYPD's lacrosse squad, Kloepfer died rescuing workers at 1 World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, his teammates will face off against the FDNY lacrosse squad at the Nassau Coliseum as a prelude to the New York Saints' home opener in the National Lacrosse League. It will be each team's first appearance in a major venue.

The match, which will be played in Kloepfer's honor, is expected to raise $300,000 for the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Fund, according to Saints' owners Mike Gongas and Charlie Russo, who are donating $8 from every ticket purchased.

"I am already proud of him," Dawn Kloepfer said of her husband's legacy. "This just makes me prouder."

Highlights from the Finest vs. Bravest match, which starts at 5:30 p.m., will be broadcast during the Saints' nationally televised game, along with a phone number for viewers to call to donate to the fund.
Strong support
P.C. Richard & Son, the retail electronics chain, has pledged $60,000 to the cause, $25,000 each in the names of the FDNY and NYPD teams, plus an additional $10,000 for the winner of the "Heroes Trophy."

Kloepfer started the lacrosse team six years ago. He was the team's captain, and, at 39, its oldest player.

Despite the rigors of his job, raising three young children and running a home improvement business, Kloepfer found the time to schedule team practices, book fields and coordinate tournaments.

"I don't know how the hell he did it," said Police Officer Keith Hickey, who took on the responsibility of running the team with Detective Craig Carson and Officer Sean Rooney.

Teammates joke that it takes three men to fill Kloepfer's cleats.

Right after the disaster, Hickey spoke to Kloepfer's wife. "She asked me, 'You guys are going to keep the team together, right?' I said, 'There's no question about it.' "
Glowing memories
Kloepfer lived and breathed lacrosse. In his basement, he kept all his old sticks, from his youth league days to a collegiate career that included a national championship at Adelphi College.

He inspired his daughters Jaime, 11, and Taylor, 9, to play in lacrosse leagues, and his 5-year-old son Casey walks with a lacrosse stick in hand.

On the field, Kloepfer defied his age.

"He always said to you, 'Look at the old man go.' He was always feisty," said Rooney. "He would go out there and play his heart out."

To his teammates, he was a sort of patriarch.

"Ronnie was like our father. When we had a problem, we called Ronnie," said Carson.

Detective Phil Tricolla, a former player and close friend, said Kloepfer managed each year to form a winning team while being fair- minded, "which is hard to do."

Firefighters like John Fee, who battled with the cops on the field, were his friends off it.

Fee was among the cops and firefighters who were to travel with Kloepfer to Chicago on Sept. 15, when he planned to celebrate his 40th birthday with his family and play in an annual lacrosse tournament.

They are making another trip instead, to the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I., on Dec. 8.

"The reason we are doing this for Ronnie is he did so much for us," said Rooney. "He put all his effort into running this lacrosse team."
Published in City Beat 12/5/2001

Police Officer Ronald P. Kloepfer, 39, was appointed to the NYPD on January 3, 1983, and began his career on patrol in Neighborhood Stabilization Unit 18. He served in the 73 Precinct before being transferred to ESU in 1988. His interests included camping with his family, skiing and hunting. But his greatest passion was lacrosse. He loved the sport so much that in 1997, with the help of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, he was instrumental in forming an NYPD lacrosse team. He is survived by his wife Dawn; children Casey, Jamie and Taylor; mother Janet; sisters Jill, Kim and Wendy; and brothers Christopher, Michael and Robert.
- SPRING 3100, Commemorative Issue

(patch created by a volunteer for the
CubScout Pack 233 Memorial American Flag Quilt)

(patch from Barnum Woods Elementary School Quilt)