Friends, family and fellow officers gathered Friday to remember a Broward Sheriff's deputy who died after sustaining injuries in a violent crash on I-95.
The funeral for Deputy Daniel Rivera was held Friday at 11 a.m. at Calvary Chapel at 2401 W. Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale.
A procession of deputy cruisers, fire rescue trucks and police motorcycles took off shortly after 10 a.m. from Forest Lawn Funeral home in Pompano Beach to the chapel where Rivera was honored with a 21-gun salute, taps, a flyover and an end-of-watch radio call.
BSO Chaplain Nathaniel Knowles presided over the ceremony, thanking the law enforcement officers in attendance and recalling Rivera's dedication to his department.
"He was a fantastic young man who gave it all - the ultimate sacrifice," Knowles said.
Friends and family spoke as well, including Rivera's son Damian Barrio.
"I know it's hard for everyone right now, but he is in a better place now," Barrio said. "He's not suffering anymore."
Barrio said he remembered his dad as a fun-loving man who was only strict when it came to dinner time.
"He would become strict or aka the drill sargeant," Barrio said. "He would put a huge bowl of pasta in front of me and asked me, 'Don't you want muscles like mine?' I'm a picky eater, but I'm going to try for my dad."
He said his goal was to be a cop like his father and keep Pompano safe.
Rivera's aunt Nellie Capellan also spoke about how Rivera was an inspiration to his family.
"I looked up to him as a role model because he was able to set his goals at such a young age and accomplish them," she said. "It made me feel as if I could do anything just watching him."
His girlfriend Andrea Mendez spoke and shared the story of how the two met.
"Danny was the love of my life," she said. "Many of you don't know this, but we met on Match.com. Yes, that stuff works. After a few months of dating, he told me I was the best $80 he ever spent."
After hearing from other family members, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel spoke about Rivera's passion for his job.
"I can tell you everything Danny did, he did with honor, he did with courage and he did with a smile on his face," Israel said.
He said the number of officers who showed up at the hospital following the crash was a testament to how loved Rivera was at the department.
"There was a swarm, a mass of Broward Sheriff's deputies waiting to hear from the doctors," Israel said.
Gov. Rick Scott also honored Rivera at the ceremony, saying his service would never be forgotten.
After the ceremony, the procession headed on Cypress Creek Road to Northwest 31st Avenue, south on 31st Avenue to Prospect Road, west on Prospect to State Road 7, then north to Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 1400 S. State Road 7 in North Lauderdale.
A viewing was held for Rivera Thursday night at First Baptist Church of Pompano Beach.
Rivera, 32, died Saturday at Broward Health North after suffering serious injuries in the Sept. 11 crash that happened in the southbound lanes of I-95 just north of Atlantic Boulevard near Copans Road.
Officials said Rivera was on his way to work when he somehow drove off the road and struck a tree. Authorities haven't said what caused the crash.
The BSO said Rivera spent 10 years with the agency, first as a Department of Detention deputy before he was transferred to the Department of Law Enforcement in May 2012. He was assigned to the Pompano Beach district office as a road patrol deputy, the BSO said.
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