Maritza Ramos is the wife of the late Rafael Ramos. Maritza grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Maritza and Rafael were high school sweethearts and had been together for 22 years. After they were married, they moved to East New York, Brooklyn. They have two sons, Justin and Jayden Ramos. Martiza and Rafael attended Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, Queens, where they developed and shared a love for Christ. Maritza and Ralph lead a team of ushers in the usher ministry. They also spent some of their spare time volunteering with The Legacy Center, a not-for-profit organization. With The Legacy Center, they served food to the homeless and participated in Thanksgiving outreaches feeding underserved communities. Maritza shared Ralph's heart of compassion and love for people. Together they were able to help people regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status. They saw people for who they were in God's eyes. After Ralph's passing, Maritza wants his legacy of reaching out to people to live on. Her inspiration was Ralph's love for people and a willingness to help. Creating The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation is meant to continue to do what Ralph loved to do: reach people and keep Ralph's memory alive by being God's hands extended.
Jose Falero, Vice President
Jose Falero was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, and came to New York with his family when he was five years old. He grew up in the South Bronx. Jose is a husband and father of three boys. He has a degree in business management and is a New York City Police Department officer and has been working for the NYPD for the past 10 years. Jose is also a ministry leader and served in ministry with Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, Queens, where they both attended. They were friends and brothers in blue. Jose was assigned by the NYPD to the Ramos family following that fateful day in December 2014. This enabled him to grow closer to the family while supporting them in their time of need. Jose desired to do more in remembering Rafael Ramos, for his brothers in blue, and to improve relations between the police and community. He is dedicated to the Ramos family as they carry out the legacy of Rafael Ramos. Becoming Vice President of The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation afforded him that opportunity.
Ricardo Diaz, Treasurer
Ricardo was born in Brooklyn, New York, the second oldest of four children. When Ricardo was two years old, his parents decided to move the family to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico until they returned to Brooklyn in 1981. He began his law enforcement career in August of 1993 with the New York City Transit Police. In 1995, he joined the New York City Police Department when the departments merged and continued to serve in the Transit Division, District 33, in the East New York area of Brooklyn. In March of 2004, Ricardo joined the Applicant Processing Division, where he continues to serve as a background investigator of police officer candidates. Ricardo also worked in the financial services industry for several years, helping families improve their financial situations. Ricardo and Rafael met in the summer of 2000 at a barbecue held by a mutual friend and soon began to serve together as ushers at their local church, Christ Tabernacle, in Glendale, Queens. Their friendship became a great one because Rafael was kind, generous, and had a great sense of humor. Ricardo's main goal within The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation is to continue to expand on Rafael's legacy of helping others, serving our communities, and creating educational opportunities for the youth in our communities.
J.W. Cortés, Board Member
JW Cortés is a Marine Combat Veteran turned actor, singer, and philanthropist. Born and raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to inspiring Puerto Rican parents, he developed an interest in the arts along with a desire to serve his community and country. Currently, Cortés plays the recurring role of 'Detective Carlos Alvarez' on FOX's hit prime-time series "Gotham." Cortés is the first actor in history to portray the iconic comic book character in television and film: Detective Alvarez was originally created by Judd Winick's for his hit DC Comics' The New 52 Catwoman series. In addition to "Gotham," he has had various guest star roles on Starz's "Power," NBC's "The Night Shift," "The Blacklist," "The Mysteries of Laura" and starred as a Military Operative on NBC's reality television show, "Stars Earn Stripes." He has appeared in feature films including the soon-to-be-released "A Momentary Lapse of Reasoning" with "The Big Bang Theory's" Kunal Nayyer, "As Good As Dead" from Andie MacDowell, "Blue Caprice" with Isaiah Washington and most recently "Monsters and Men" based on the multi-award winning short film "Stop" which is produced by the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to actively serving as a New York State Police Officer, he helps raise awareness and funding for various philanthropic organizations, including the Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation for which he also serves as a board member, Autism Speaks, Maestro Cares, Got Your 6, the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation and Boot Campaign. In 2016 Cortés received the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, was chosen by the Boot Campaign as a celebrity spokesperson & Hero Ambassador and participated in the critically acclaimed HBO series HABLA Y VOTA. He was also selected by Got Your 6 to serve as an "American Icon," and he continues to support the organization's mission to empower Veterans by serving on its advisory board. Cortés served in the United States Marine Corps for nearly thirteen years, attaining the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and Marine of the Year. He studied acting at the world-renowned William Esper Studio, under the tutelage of Terry Knickerbocker. J.W. Cortés is the proud father of two boys, a lucky husband and loving owner of an American-Bulldog named "Blue."
Timothy Maurer, Board Member
Timothy Maurer served as a New York City Police Officer from 1986 to 2006. He considers it to have been a privilege to have served with New York City's finest and in one of the greatest police agencies in the world. Tim always thought he would naturally follow in his father's footsteps and become a minister. He never thought as a child that he would pursue a career in law enforcement. But by his early 20's he took the test, and that was one of the best things he ever had done. As a protector of the city and a keeper of peace, Timothy also went to work with the mindset of seeing men and women who were on a destructive path take another course. He often felt his calling was best utilized in his run-ins as an officer working the streets. Faith has always been his guiding compass, as it was the same for Detective Rafael Ramos. In fact, they both attended the same church. Timothy considers it an honor to be a part of the Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation, where it allows him to be in touch with the law enforcement community, as well as serving the community at large and in some way seeing the two come together for the greater good. Timothy has been retired now for almost 10 years and indulges in his passion for music, lives in Queens, NY, with his wife, and has one son.
Sindy Ramos, Board Member
Sindy Ramos was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, alongside her brother Rafael Ramos. Sindy worked for the Department of Housing and Preservation Development for 10 years before accepting the position of Payroll Coordinator for the New York City Transit Department of Buses. Sindy has been married to Jimmy Gonzalez for five years. She has four children and two grandsons. Sindy remembers vividly the events that took place on December 20, 2014, that ultimately changed her and her family's life forever. Sindy, although the older sibling, always had the utmost respect for her brother, often referring to him as "the greatest man she's ever known." She admired his love for God and his wife and children. Most of all, she admired how her nephews looked up to their dad and their undying love for him. Sindy, together with her sister-in-law Maritza, will work hard to make sure Rafael's legacy lives on through The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation. It is imperative to the family that the Foundation brings together law enforcement and the community, so together they can become one. Sindy will dedicate her life to honoring her brother, Detective Rafael Ramos, and making the Foundation an overwhelming success.
Luis Baez, Board Member
Luis Baez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He's worked in the financial services industry for 25 years, all with the same firm. He is a Deacon at his church, Christ Tabernacle, in Glendale, Queens, and has been serving there for 17 years. Luis has been married to his wife Abby Baez for 20 years, and together they have three children. Luis and Rafael Ramos were best friends who met at Christ Tabernacle. Together they would spend time talking about the future of their families and specifically their boys. They shared many of the same goals and dreams. When Luis considered becoming a Court Officer, Rafael (better known to Luis as Ralph) studied and trained with him. Luis' life took a turn for the worse when he tragically lost his best friend on December 20, 2014. Luis has now become one of the Board Members of The Detective Rafael Ramos Foundation. He is dedicated to carrying out Rafael's legacy and will forever be dedicated to his boys as a role model.
Jordan Durso, Board Member
Before moving back to his hometown in NY, Jordan Durso spent 10 years in Peru, leading humanitarian efforts at JV Ministries and Operation Blessing. With offices in the Caribbean, Central, and South America, Jordan was able to provide life-changing education and medication to over twenty-nine million people. Since his return to the states, Jordan's passion for transforming communities continues to drive his life's work. At The Legacy Center Community Development Corporation, Jordan works tirelessly to not only help people in their situation but out of their situation. To ensure that TLC is educating individuals & empowering families to build a Legacy, they would want the next generation to continue.
Alfonso Rojas, Board Member
Alfonso was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens by Immigrant parents from Colombia, S.A. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, served in the Persian Gulf, and was honorably discharged. He married his first true love, Nancy. Alfonso then joined the NYPD in 1994, serving in various commands, including the 19th, 25th & 115th Precincts, and OCCB/Vice Enforcement Division. After retiring from the NYPD in 2011, he went on to work at JetBlue Airways due to his passion for travel. Alfonso & Nancy had the pleasure of meeting Ralph, Maritza, Justin, and Jayden through mutual friends at Christ Tabernacle Church, where Al & Ralph served in the same ministry and became spiritual brothers. After the unimaginable event that took Detective Ramos home to be with God, Alfonso had the honor and privilege of serving as the liaison between Christ Tabernacle and the NYPD in service to God and Ralph’s honor. Alfonso’s heart and passion are to honorably serve God and Ralph’s memory and legacy alongside Maritza and the rest of Team Ramos. Alfonso has been a member of Christ Tabernacle for seventeen years, is a ministry leader, serves in several ministries, and dedicates his spare time to volunteering. Alfonso & Nancy have 2 daughters, Robyn & Rebecca.
Arthur L. Aidala Esq., Advisory Board Member
Arthur Aidala completed his undergraduate studies from the State University of New York, College of Purchase in 1989. Upon being awarded his Juris Doctorate Degree from the City University of New York Law School in 1992, he was admitted to the New York and New Jersey Bars that same year. In 1992 Arthur worked as Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney's Office and advanced to the position of Senior Trial Attorney from 1993 to 1997, where he tried many complex felony and homicide trials. He also supervised twenty-five Assistant District Attorneys in the Early Case Assessment Bureau and Investigations Bureau and wrote and argued Appeals for the Office. He resigned from his seat in 1997 to run as a candidate for the New York City Council. After coming up with 108 votes shy in the Primary Election, Mr. Aidala opened his own law practice. Aidala Bertuna & Kamins dedicates approximately 80% of its time to legal work involving criminal defense charges, contractual issues, real estate, wills, probate, estate planning and business / corporate legal matters, practicing in both State and Federal Courts. The remainder of the firm's practice focuses on helping neighbors in our Brooklyn community on such matters as real estate closings, estate affairs, and civil issues. Our firm's New York City law offices are located in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and we maintain an associate office (Studi Legali Associati) in Milan, Italy. Professional Associations: Mr. Aidala served as President of the Columbian Lawyers Association of New York City. He often appears as an invited speaker at local and state bar association meetings and at law schools in the metropolitan area. Arthur has been featured on various television programs as a legal expert, including Fox 5, NY1, MSNBC, and Court TV. Additionally, he has been heard on WINS, WCBS, and WABC radio. In September of 2005, Arthur became an official legal contributor/analyst of Fox News Channel, where he now appears exclusively on various day and primetime programs.
Willie Alfonso, Advisory Board Member
Willie was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the product of an abusive and alcoholic father. At the age of ten, he was forced to leave home when his mother chose to turn him away after he defended her during a beating from his then crazed and drunken father. Willie spent his teenage years living with relatives, friends, and on the streets of Brooklyn. He turned to drug use early on and continued destructive habits into his young adult years. In 1972, at the age of seventeen, he married his wife Nancy and continued to abuse drugs until Palm Sunday, 1981, when he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. In 1996 he and his wife felt called into full-time, inner-city ministry. Willie began working with teenagers in a sports ministry where hundreds of young people came to Christ. He now serves as Chaplain to the Brooklyn Nets and Chapel Leader for the Staten Island Yankees and the Hispanic players of the New York Yankees. Willie continues to reside on Staten Island with his wife, Nancy. They have three daughters, Venus, Yvette and Krista, and two grandchildren, Julie and Jonathan.
Rafael Castillo, Advisory Board Member
Ralph Castillo is a Teaching Pastor at Christ Tabernacle in Queens, New York. He is also the co-founder of Youth Explosion Ministries, now Misfit NYC, a thriving youth and young adult ministry in New York City. Rafael serves on the chaplain team for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets. He is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and lives in New York City with his wife, Elisa, and their two children.
Jenimarie Garcia-Cruz, Advisory Board Member
Jenimarie Garcia was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, to Carlos and Carmen Garcia. She moved to NYC with her parents at a young age and was raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Growing up in Brooklyn, she had dreams of someday becoming an NYPD Detective. She took the Police Officer exam while she was a student attending High School, and on June 30, 1995, she was sworn into the NYPD Police Academy as a Police Recruit. After graduating from the Police Academy in March 1996, she was assigned to Patrol at the 76th Precinct in Brooklyn South, not too far from where she originally grew up. She served five years in the Red hook, Gowanus, Carrol Gardens community, and during the summers of 1996, 1997, and 1998 was temporarily assigned to the 60th Precinct Coney Island Summer Detail. In June 2000, she joined the Applicant Processing Division and was tasked with interviewing and conducting background checks for Police Officer applicants as an Investigator. During her seventeen years with the applicant processing division, she worked in several sub-units, including Unit 1, Candidate Relations, Medical Division, Screening/Testing and Administration assigned as the Reinstatement Officer and Restoration Liaison for the NYPD and Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Throughout her career, she was involved in the hiring process of thousands of applicants in various titles. In November 2018, her dream of being promoted to Detective came true, and subsequently, she was promoted to Detective 2nd Grade in April 2013 and Detective 1st Grade in December 2016. Detective Garcia-Cruz has always been involved in the advocacy of human rights, fairness, and equality for all. She is an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society, NYC Ronald McDonald House, and a member of the NYPD Women’s Institute. In November of 2010, she was given an opportunity to represent Hispanic members of the NYPD as she joined the Executive Board appointed as Secretary of the NYPD Hispanic Society. In November 2014, she became the 2nd Vice President, and in January 2016, she was sworn in as President of the Hispanic Society. As a fraternal President, she was involved in numerous NYPD projects, but working with and supporting the NYPD recruitment campaign throughout the city has been one of the most rewarding. This project gave her the opportunity to mentor young prospective Police Officer candidates and engage with the youth in our communities. After serving the Hispanic Society for nearly 10 years in January 2019, she joined the Executive Board of the NYPD Committee of Police Societies as Recording Secretary. In May 2017, she was assigned to the Community Affairs Bureau Research and Development Unit as the Citywide Community Council Liaison. This enabled her to visit Precincts and Police Service Areas citywide and meet with community affairs officers and community members to address and assist with everyday issues, cares, and concerns of NYC residents. While assigned to the Community Affairs Bureau, she also attended the Mayors Town Hall meetings as an observer and devised a way to utilize the information shared to provide answers to the issues and concerns the communities she served were experiencing. In October 2018, she was transferred to the Office of the Police Commissioner, Liaison Unit, where she currently serves as the Hispanic and Clergy Liaison. Detective Garcia-Cruz is a 9/11 First Responder and a Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico First Responder. She is the recipient of the NYPD Commendation for Community Service and the awardee of 2013 – Mujeres Destacadas (Distinguished Women Award) – El Diario 100th Anniversary, 2018 Committee of Police Societies Person of the Year Award, 2018 National Puerto Rican Day Parade Service Award, 2019 Brooklyn Three Kings Day Parade Community Service Award and in addition has received proclamations from Senator Jose Serrano, Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner, and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson. She is a proud Brooklynite and enjoys running in her spare time. She is an active member of the New York Road Runners since 2010 and has run in numerous half marathons citywide and completed the 26.2 mile New York City Marathon in 2014. She is the proud mother and grandmother of a Son; Glenn, Daughter; Jenise Marie and Granddaughter; Nova Marie.