EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. - Officers in the Poconos are remembering one of their own.
Stroud Area Regional Police Officer Ruben Torres died Monday after fighting advanced cancer.
Members of the police department spoke with the media about their beloved colleague.
"I don't think he lost the battle to cancer; I don't. His attitude and his spirit and his soul right till the very end was amazing," said Lt. Jennifer Lyon.
"Ruben was in Mexico but we did manage to get him flown back here on the Fourth of July," said Chief William Parrish.
The community rallied around Torres and his family, helping to raise money so he could seek treatment in Mexico.
"He was so touched by the outpouring of the community and everything people were trying to do for him and support him with it, I believe that helped with his spirit and how he felt towards the end," said Lyon.
Lt. Kevin Transue said, "You don't get many thank yous on the job and this really is a big one, not for just Ruben, but for everybody who works for this police department, that they'll stand up for one of us in times of need."
Torres was a police officer for 25 years and was approaching retirement. Not only was he a dedicated officer, he was a family man. He is survived by his wife and 11 children, five of whom were adopted. Five of their children have Down syndrome.
"Once we got back to Pocono Medical Center and we got him transferred over to hospice, he got to see all of his children and I believe that was his goal in getting home, was to see all of his kids," said Lyon.
Captain Brian Kimmins said Torres was a certified expert in accident reconstruction and a founding member of the department's motorcycle unit. He often led processions on his motorcycle.
"His skills were well appreciated, his interaction with the community as an ambassador to the police department are going to be very tough, tough shoes to fill," said Kimmins.
A man known for helping others has clearly left his mark on those who knew him.
Lyon said, "The cancer may have taken his life, but it never took his spirit and his attitude which is something you can never replace."
A viewing is scheduled for Wednesday 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Clark Funeral Home in Stroudsburg and Thursday 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a service following at the same location. Torres will be buried at Laurelwood Cemetery.
There is a fundraiser to help the Torres family planned for Tuesday at Big Daddy's Family Restaurant in Bartonsville from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Allentown, PA 18102