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Raphael Ribeiro: the fight of a hero both overseas and right next door

Londonderry+Lancer+cheerleaders+bring+baked+goods+to+the+department+to+show+gratitude+and+thankfulness+to+the+officers.+%E2%80%9CHe+was+very+excited+to+accept+our+cookies%2C%E2%80%9D+Sophomore+cheerleader+Megan+Goodwin+said.+%E2%80%9CYou+could+tell+he+genuinely+appreciated+the+gesture.%E2%80%9D
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Raphael Ribeiro: the fight of a hero both overseas and right next door

Londonderry Lancer cheerleaders bring baked goods to the department to show gratitude and thankfulness to the officers. “He was very excited to accept our cookies,” Sophomore cheerleader Megan Goodwin said. “You could tell he genuinely appreciated the gesture.”

Londonderry Lancer cheerleaders bring baked goods to the department to show gratitude and thankfulness to the officers. “He was very excited to accept our cookies,” Sophomore cheerleader Megan Goodwin said. “You could tell he genuinely appreciated the gesture.”

Photo Courtesy of Londonderry Police Department

Londonderry Lancer cheerleaders bring baked goods to the department to show gratitude and thankfulness to the officers. “He was very excited to accept our cookies,” Sophomore cheerleader Megan Goodwin said. “You could tell he genuinely appreciated the gesture.”

Photo Courtesy of Londonderry Police Department

Photo Courtesy of Londonderry Police Department

Londonderry Lancer cheerleaders bring baked goods to the department to show gratitude and thankfulness to the officers. “He was very excited to accept our cookies,” Sophomore cheerleader Megan Goodwin said. “You could tell he genuinely appreciated the gesture.”

Bella McCutcheon, Reporter

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For most seniors in high school, their concerns are focused on who they’re taking to prom and when the next house party is.

However, when Londonderry officer Raphael Ribeiro was in high school, becoming a soldier was all he could think about.

“I enlisted for the army when I was 17,” Ribeiro said. “I just wanted to serve. It always appealed to me. Ever since I was a little kid playing with toy soldiers, I knew it was something meaningful and honorable to do.”

Ribeiro moved to the United States when he was seven years old, and from that point on, his goals revolved around helping others.

“Right after I got here, seeing the blue lights, seeing the police officers in the street, it all fascinated me,” Ribeiro said.

Previous to being an officer, Ribeiro was with the 82nd Airborne Division as an infantry paratrooper, meaning he was in the front lines of fighting in Afghanistan. There he was stationed in many small villages, staying in the village of Herat for most of his 12 month deployment.

“We were constantly patrolling the dirt paths in villages,” Ribeiro said. “We were looking for organizations like the Taliban. Every day was pretty harsh. We would get shot at, and we had to look out for IEDs.”

IEDs were essentially hidden bombs that were scattered throughout the areas Ribeiro and the rest of his soldiers were in charge of.

“For the first couple months, hitting these bombs were a huge obstacle you needed to get over,” Ribeiro said. ”There were multiple times where I was in the car right behind one that got hit. It was scary knowing that you could get killed at anytime.”

Even with such a terrifying position, Ribeiro overcame his worries and bravely faced each problem he ran into during his service.

Photo Courtesy of Londonderry Police Department
Four officers relax at annual Old Home Day celebration at the Lion’s Club. The event had an outstanding turnout, and many people were excited to have a chance to interact with Ribeiro and the rest of the officers who were included.

“Eventually you have to realize, ‘Hey, if it happens, it happens,’” Ribeiro said. “Focus on the mission. You have to do your job.”

After a long 12 months of serving, Ribeiro returned to his home after his term of active duty in Dracut, Massachusetts.

He did another eight months serving, then was ready to start looking for jobs as an officer.

Once he turned 21, he moved from Dracut to Merrimack, New Hampshire. There was no real motive behind the move other than the Civil Service Exam, which is a test any person wanting to go in to the field of law enforcement in Massachusetts had to take.

The test only occurs every two years, and Ribeiro was arriving home from Afghanistan the day the test was scheduled. He had to either wait two years or take matters into his own hands.

“I knew New Hampshire was a state that tested each department separately, so I started applying to anywhere that was hiring,” Ribeiro said. “My wife’s uncle who works at the Nashua Police Department spoke very highly of Londonderry, he said I couldn’t go wrong working here.”

Now four years later, Ribeiro has nothing but good things to say about the town and the department.

“What I like about working here is that your family always comes first,” Ribeiro said. “If you ever need to run home to deal with something, it is always acceptable. I really appreciate that. The people in the town are great, too. All the negativity around the country towards officers, you don’t see in Londonderry. Mostly everyone appreciates what we do for the town.”

Due to the good relationship the officers of the town hold with the community, Ribeiro and the rest of the department are always looking for new ways to connect with the community.

Sergeant Mike McCutcheon was one of the officers besides Ribeiro who made efforts to relate to Londonderry’s citizens.                                 

“A few months ago we made some mini footballs to hand out to the people around the town,” McCutcheon said. “We don’t want people just seeing us on their worst days.”

Although, Ribeiro’s actions of giving back to the community go much further than passing out footballs.

“Raphael participates in a lot of the other town activities, too,” McCutcheon said. “He’s always looking for a way to help someone out, or make someone’s day better.”

Photo Courtesy of Londonderry Police Department
An excited Londonderry resident has Ribeiro sign his Police Department football after seeing him pull in to Mack’s Apples on the Patrol motorcycle.

Just a few weeks ago, Ribeiro did just that when he saw two women on the side of the road trying to change their tire.

“But they just didn’t know how,” Ribeiro said. “Obviously, I pulled over and helped them out. It’s not in our job description to do things like that, but it’s become second nature to me to do things like that.”

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Raphael Ribeiro: the fight of a hero both overseas and right next door