Officer Diana Cordova Pena's two families - from home and work -- remembered her Thursday as a determined and persistent woman. Her husband Luis Pena, her son Adryan Pena, Major Ignacio Alvarez and Officer Leyane Casas spoke out about who she was.
Adryan Pena says he will always remember his mother Diana Cordova Pena’s persistent smile and her advice.
“You need to be happy, cheer up. It's a bad time, but still, you need to be happy, just get your mind off of it. Do something productive,” the 13-year-old recalled her saying.
She would give such advice even when she was very sick with breast cancer, he added.
The Miami-Dade Police officer died this week after fighting the disease for three years.
On Thursday, her relatives were surrounded by her work family, as they remembered a determined and inspirational woman.
“She's a ray of light, she's an inspiration for me, my son, all my friends here,” said her husband, Luis Pena.
It was very important for her to be a Miami-Dade Police officer, he said. She worked for the department for six years, most recently in the community service unit in the northwest district – coming to work until it became physically impossible.
“She was in the office a couple of weeks ago, wanting to do things, wanting to be involved, wanting to be a police officer,” Major Ignacio Alvarez said.
The gathering Thursday was full of Cordova Pena’s colleagues – those who made sure she went zip lining and parasailing when she knew her life was ending.
“We had so much fun, it was an amazing day, and I cherish every moment that we all shared with her, that she gave to us. All the moments,” Officer Leyane Casas said. “Her bucket list was our bucket list.”