PARKLAND, Fla. – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland honored a retired member of the New York City Police Department who helped victims out of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011.
Richard Wentz worked as a school resource officer at the high school. On Wednesday, the school unveiled a plaque honoring Wentz, who died in May from cancer related to his first responder effort. He was 48.
"We couldn't help him except for give him all our love and just make him comfortable and let him know it was okay if he goes because what he did here already was enough for a lifetime," said his stepdaughter, Ashley Ferrante. "He did everything at the drop of a finger, and he definitely changed my life in ways that I could never even thank him for."
Two years ago, Wentz spoke to students at the high school, many who were too young to remember the attacks.
"He walks up to me, his arm is severed. He's holding his arm and asking for help," he said. "Freedom is given to us because of our military personnel, our forefathers, our great-grandfathers, their great-grandfathers who fought for us to be here right now."
In Nov. 2011, Wentz fought his homeowner association to fly an American flag and Sept. 11 commemorative flag outside his house.
"As far as I'm concerned, it was a fight that was worth fighting," he told Local 10 at the time.