PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Working anywhere for more than 30 years is an accomplishment, but for a retiring member of the Plymouth Township Police Department it was a duty.
The whole town turned out for the emotional ceremony, from his home to the police department and all of the streets in between. It was a celebration of service, sacrifice and many more years of good health.
After 33 years on the force, Detective Sergeant Thomas Longo walked out to a final salute in his Plymouth Meeting driveway.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm overwhelmed," he said.
Outside, a procession of vehicles wound its way through the streets, ending at the Plymouth Township Police Department where Det. Sgt. Longo then received numerous honors, including the Patriot Award for exceptional service and dedication to duty.
But Longo insists this was a calling.
"I didn't pick law enforcement, law enforcement picked me," he said.
"He has just lead with dignity, and such compassion for the job and for the community," said his wife, Adonna Longo.
Longo is a husband and father to three sons.
"I mean, he was my biggest hero growing up," said his son, Thomas Longo, Jr.
He's also a two time cancer survivor. He underwent a stem cell transplant several years ago at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and has since raised over $40,000 for the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
This is day he wasn't sure he'd see.
"Today is a hard day. You know, honestly, it's a day I've been looking forward to for a long time," said Longo.
"There were a couple years where he wasn't working and his battle with cancer - and it just showed so much resilience through everything. It's just so nice to see everything come full circle, and he really deserves it," said his other son, Rocco Longo.
Holding back tears, Detective Sergeant Longo signed off for the final time Friday and was thanked for his years of service in Montgomery County and his dedication to the job.
Longo even got to place his picture on the wall of honor - laughing that he was thinner and had hair back then.
He says he will certainly enjoy his retirement, but will miss this police force after 33 years.
Plymouth Twp. Detective Sergeant celebrates retirement after 33 years with emotional final salute
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