HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Monday, for the first time, News13 heard from Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill about the death of one of his police officers.
“We’re doing OK,” said Chief Hill.
Corporal Michael Ambrosino died Wednesday after a battle with COVID-19.
Chief Hill says Cpl. Ambrosino was not only a part of the Horry County Police Department but was a part of the community.
57-year-old Ambrosino retired from New York to work with the Horry County P.D., something Chief Hill says Ambrosino did an excellent job at.
“Mike, like so many, put on the badge, strapped on the apron, get behind the wheel of a truck, and do the jobs that they’re assigned to do,” Chief Hill said. “And Mike did that. He did it everyday that he was supposed to work.”
Cpl. Ambrosino, who served on Beach Patrol, loved the ocean waves. Chief Hill says Ambrosino’s death due to COVID-19 drives home how seriously they need to take the coronavirus.
Cpl. Ambrosino ran in marathons and because of his health, Chief Hill says they thought he’d pull through.
“It’s scary because, how do you prevent that invisible danger from infecting you and your family,” Chief Hill asked. “I’ve never in my 36 years trained to fight against the virus. How do you do that? You follow universal precautions, you do all the things that the experts tell you to do, and yet you still succumb to these diseases. So, it’s real to us, it hits us close to home.”
The department administrator mandated masks long before it became a countywide or statewide requirement, but still, several of Ambrosino’s co-workers tested positive too.
He says President Trump signed an act two weeks ago that covers public safety and a line of duty death like this one for anything COVID-19-related.
“That was a blessing,” Chief Hill said. “We never thought we’d have to use it, but here we are.”
As for the weeks and months ahead, Chief Hill says they’ll continue to honor Cpl. Ambrosino.
“We’re going to honor Mike, and we’re going to give him all the respect and honor of an officer that dies in the line of duty deserves,” he said.
There will be a livestreamed, private ceremony at Goldfinch’s Funeral Home in Murrells Inlet Tuesday at 9 a.m. and a procession to Myrtle Beach State Park will follow.
HCPD motorcycle units, patrol units, family vehicles, and public safety partner vehicles will proceed according to the following directions:
– Turn left onto Highway 17 Bypass at the Garden City Connector
– Continue on Highway 17 Bypass
– Exit Highway 17 Bypass onto Dick Pond Road
– Continue on Dick Pond Road
– Turn left at Highway 17 Business
– Turn right into Myrtle Beach State Park
The family will pour a mix of sand, shells and flower petals into the ocean where Ambrosino loved to spend most of his time.