Roberto A Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Fund

Organized by
Sonia Rodriguez
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Our story

Robert Rodriguez made a fantastic breakfast. He was a man of varied interests and many accomplishments, but there is actual video evidence of his daughter doing a celebratory dance and singing, “Daddy’s making breakfast” and anyone who ever had one of his Dominican breakfasts can testify that her response was appropriate. Robert's life began in Queens on July 21, 1970 when he was born to Ruben and Tulia Rodriguez, joining his older siblings Sandra and Ruben. As a child, Robert lived all over Queens, and in then upper Manhattan, eventually landing at Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA where he left a piece of his heart when he graduated in 1989. MHS was a huge part of his life. He went back to visit a LOT. He was a favorite on Career Day when he would tell current students about the life of an NYPD detective. It was always his plan to retire to Hershey. Robert attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice until June 30, 1992, when he was appointed to the New York City Police Department. Shortly after graduating from the Academy in 1993—in trademark Robert fashion—he opted to take the fast track to a gold shield by working undercover buy and bust in Coney Island, simultaneously horrifying his family and making them ridiculously proud. The NYPD was more than a career; it was a huge part of his identity and he considered his colleagues his brothers. He earned several commendations over the years and attained the rank of Detective Second Grade. In 1995, Robert married Sonia and they settled into the rhythms of married life, eventually buying a house in New Windsor, NY in 1999. While they were waiting for their baby to be born in 2001, the unthinkable happened: 9/11. Working through the aftermath of that horrible day was awful, and he would come home and just sit, holding his baby girl Isabella after she was born in October. As it was for so many of the first responders who experienced it, 9/11 ended up having long-term health effects for Robert. He made the very difficult decision to retire after 20 years on the job due in part to some of those effects. Robert was a very intelligent man who *LOVED* his hobbies. He passionately delved into whatever caught his interest and made connections with like-minded folks. His hobbies over the years included multiple aquarium set-ups (both fish and live rock), scuba diving, cigars and building a perfect humidor, computers, converting diesel cars to biodiesel, restoring Porsches, Rottweiler rescue, and repairing and rebuilding Rolex watches. In each instance, he formed friendships that would stand the test of time. He was also an active member of the Milton Hershey School Alumni Association and the Newburgh Elks Lodge 247. (unsure of any police organizations he was involved in…?) The family’s home served as a community gathering space year-round, and they hosted massive parties where the food and drink flowed, and the company was great. If the house was empty and quiet, Robert and his family were likely travelling. They vacationed all around the world, and he had planned a trip to Ireland to meet up with some of his watch forum friends. On January 19, 2024, Robert undertook his final adventure, shedding his physical body and leaving this earthly plane.

Our goal

In honor of Isabella Rodriguez’s father retired NYC detective who passed away suddenly. He lived a life a service to humanity. He was generous, loving, caring and respectful to all he met. He served on the force during the bombing and aftermath of 9-11. This fundraiser is to support likeminded students who are looking to pursue a career in law enforcement.
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