Hello, my name is Robin Shepherd-Ryan, a sergeant for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Florida. I am a veteran of sixteen years. I am also a proud member of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard for twelve years. I am here to honor and memorialize Deputy Michael David Ryan.
A deputy with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Michael was a veteran of thirteen years ten months who exhibited great strength and commitment. Michael was working when he collapsed outside the Main Jail. He passed away on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017. Michael was described as a “Gentle Giant” by his peers. He took great pride in working for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, where he received Letters of Commendation as well as the Life Saver Award.
More importantly, Michael was the love of my life, my best friend, and my family for thirty years. Sixteen of those years we were married. Thirteen years and ten months spent as co-workers with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
I knew Michael to be strong, powerful, funny. I also knew him to be kind, humble, mild-mannered, unassuming, motivating. He was my Superman, always there when I needed him.
Michael loved Powerlifting. Lifting with his closest friends, training for and competing in competitions made him feel like he was an eagle, with his arms stretched out soaring high in the sky and nothing could stop him.
Kindness, he always made a point to extend a kind and respectful word to everyone. Michael’s kindness was remarkable; he would give someone in need the shirt off his back, literally. The first time it happened I noticed that he wasn’t wearing button down, only the undershirt. So, of course, I ask him where his shirt was. He responded, “Well there was this guy who said he had a job interview and didn’t have the right shirt, so I gave him mine.” After the second time, he came home missing a piece of clothing I stopped asking where his clothes were and began asking if we needed to go to the store and buy more.
He had a couple of motivational mottos. One was, “If you’re going to be a bear, be a grizzly.” Meaning, be the biggest, badest, and best that you can be. The second one, “You return the way you left.” I learned that one literally. It was my first long distance bike ride. From home in Hollywood to South Beach. I told him my plan, and he said, “Wow, that’s far, you think you’re ready?” I said yep, ready. The next morning, I started my ride early in the morning before the sunrise taking A1A all the way to South Pointe Park. It took me about 2 hours 30 minutes to get there. Then I called him and told him I made it, 20 miles! After the high fives over the phone, I said to him I don’t know how I’m going to make it back; I’m exhausted. His response was, “you know the motto in our house.” I said yes, “You return the way you left.”
It wasn’t pretty, but approximately 3 ½ hours later I made it home, a total of 40 miles (long for a beginner). He was waiting inside and said, “I knew you could do it”! I was exhausted, but I knew at that moment how he felt with his powerlifting and soaring sky high like an eagle. I also knew how much he believed in me and that meant everything.
Michael was, is, and will also be my family, my best friend, and the love of my life.
I owe all that I am to Michael. I wouldn’t be who I am, or where I am, or what I am today without him.
I will be forever grateful to have had Michael in my life for 30 years.
Michael always made me laugh. He was loyal and a never-failing confidant. All I have accomplished in my life is because Michael was my “Rock.”
Michael and I will be forever linked in true love and friendship on the Thin Blue Line Observation Bridge.
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