Ridgewood police made sure that a WWII veteran received a proper burial

Funeral web
RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

The 104th Precinct serves and protects its residents, even after death.

Wilbur Hoffman, a longtime Ridgewood resident, became part of the precinct’s unofficial family last year when he sought their help after his home was burglarized twice. When he died on Jan. 22, the officers dedicated themselves to ensuring that he received the proper burial that the World War II veteran deserved.

Officers gathered last Friday, Feb. 19, at the George Werst Funeral Home to give Hoffman a fitting send-off, made possible by the precinct and funeral home along with All Faiths Cemetery and Paul Schottenhamel of the Queens County American Legion.

Hoffman was a veteran with the Navy and served during WWII, from 1942 to 1946. During his service, Hoffman served on several ships in across Pacific Ocean and earned several medals.

Hoffman developed a relationship with the 104th Precinct after burglars struck his home last February.

“The Commanding Officer, Mark Wachter, in cooperation with the NYPD’s Technical Assistance and Response Unit and 104th Precinct personnel, began an initiative to make Mr. Hoffman feel safe in his residence,” said Detective Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit.

The precinct made sure Hoffman’s home was fitted with new door locks, new window locks, cameras, motion lights, as well as two panic alarms. In addition, there was an officer posted in front of his home overnight and he was visited by the Crime Prevention officers and/or the Community Affairs Officers on a weekly basis.

“Over those incidents, the one good thing that did come of that, is that we got to intimately know Mr. Hoffman and befriended him and inducted him into the 104 Precinct family,” said Captain Gregory Mackie, executive officer of the 104th Precinct. “If there was anything that we could do for him for the short time that we were around him in his last years, we would do it.”

During all of the holidays throughout 2015, either Wachter or another member of the precinct would have either lunch or dinner with Hoffman. They even brought him a turkey for Thanksgiving last year.

“We are Mr. Hoffman’s family,” Mackie said. “The 104th Precinct will always be his family.”

After the ceremony at George Werst Funeral Home, Hoffman was brought to All Faiths Cemetery for burial.