By John Anderson
Within days of Officer Ronald Tarentino’s line-of-duty death, members of the Auburn High School baseball team sported new hats to honor the slain officer. The caps had the initials R.T., a blue ribbon, and his badge number, 74. The front featured the unique Auburn Baseball logo developed in 2007. This respectful gesture caught the attention of several television stations and other media outlets.
To make the hats, Coach Eric Swedberg turned to Auburn’s Joe Astrella who owns Astrella Ink in Millbury. They’ve known each other since Astrella’s son Vinny played baseball at Auburn High. He graduated in 2010 but returned to help coach while attending Worcester State. Today, Vinny is vice-president at the screenprinting and embroidery business.
When people started asking Swedberg how they could purchase a hat, Eric, Joe and Vinny started kicking some ideas around. They came up with an order site off of Astrella’s Facebook page and set up a Paypal link. $10 from every purchase would be donated to the Tarentino fund set up for the family.
Yesterday, 30 days after Tarentino’s death, Joe Astrella and Eric Swedberg presented Police Chief Andrew Sluckis with a check for $2,400. Hats were also presented for the Tarentino family.
The support for Officer Tarentino’s family and the Auburn Police Department continues, and it shows what a great community we live in.