The New York Times

January 22, 2002

Ultimate Public Servant

Carmen and Ramon Suarez were all dressed up for a party when they saw a few teenagers pummeling a man across the street from their home in Ridgewood, Queens. Mrs. Suarez's husband, a New York City police officer, gave her one of his looks and took off running, dress shoes and all.

Minutes later a patrol car found Officer Suarez and the teenagers he had apprehended. "I don't know how my husband used to do this," Mrs. Suarez said. "He must have had wings."

Officer Suarez could run like the wind because, at 45, he still worked out twice a day in the gym. He also ran, and coached the track team at his daughter Jillian's elementary school. And he was a physical fitness guru who chided those who sinned.

"He would tease you and say, 'Instead of having that doughnut why don't you have a PowerBar or something," said Officer Suarez's partner of 11 years, Officer Steven Rentas. He said Officer Suarez was a perfectionist about his uniform, his appearance, his performance on the job.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Officer Suarez was on transit duty at the Delancey Street subway station. He commandeered a cab and rushed to the World Trade Center, where he was photographed helping people out of one of the buildings. "Ray basically symbolized the essence of what the Police Department is looking for in its officers," Officer Rentas said.