A Fairhaven Firefighter, Frank “Frankie” Cruz, leaves behind a lasting legacy, his community, and his loving family friends... way too soon.

Before I begin this article, I'd like to first state that Frankie was a good man and a welcoming friend. I simply want to let the world know the Frankie I knew.

Back in August of 2017, Frankie fell ill with respiratory difficulties and slipped into a coma. When Cruz finally woke up, his friends and family were there for him, waiting patiently for a quick recovery. He and his wife Michelle Cruz traveled down to Florida to visit loved ones... that was last time I saw him.

When word came down the wire of his passing, we were all speechless, nothing made sense and we were shaken to the core. His death as of right now is undisclosed.

Cruz, 52, was born and raised in New Bedford, the last 30 years of his life were dedicated to the Fairhaven Fire Department as a firefighter and EMT. He fought hundreds of blazes and saved numerous lives, including Jessica Cardoza, an Acushnet native, back on Dec. 19, 1997...

A savior to her, a hero to us all.

He was an avid camper, boater, and fisherman. You could catch Frankie down at the VFW Post 2892 in Fairhaven throughout the week, helping out the bar and singing Sinatra's "My Way" with karaoke on Fridays.

"One thing I'll never forget about him... he was always on the scene, on and off duty. He was one of the few in the department that you could love and trust, Frankie was by far one the closest. He would give his shirt off his back. His passion for the job was above and beyond. I would depend on him to this day and will always be his friend. I've been on the crew for 20 years, he was 30 (years). He was genuine and if he didn't like you, you knew it!" -Firefighter Shawn Samanica

Cruz had a unique way of touching people's hearts in more ways than just one. It all came down to how you knew him and where you met him.

"Me and Frankie shared the same passion for music, we both DJed. He's helped me on specific attributes within the industry that I didn't know and I learned from him. As a friend, he touched my heart deeply. We went out a couple of times with his wife on his boat and he was always a true friend, always spoke his mind, if there was something he didn't like he would let you know. He will truly be missed, he was a true friend, God Bless him" -Sylvester Santos

Cruz leaves behind two twin boys, one daughter, one step-daughter, two grandbabies, his wife Michelle and hundreds upon hundreds of family members and friends.

A gathering to show respect and remembrance of Frankie in celebration of his life will be held on Thursday, Jan.11, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Fairhaven VFW (109 Middle St).

Frankie... Your passing was not only sudden, it is heartbreaking, but please rest easily knowing that your kind soul will forever live on within the hearts of your family and friends.

So as I say my final goodbye to you, good sir, I'll leave you with this one last "paraphrased" quote from Mr. Sinatra himself:

"You've lived a life that's full,
You traveled each and every highway,
and more, much more than this, Frankie....
You did it... Your way.