Tuesday, June 10, 2014
PFC Neil Terranova of Summerville grew up in Wallkill, NY.
After high school he went into the Marines.
Terranova, 31, did seven tours of duty – four in Afghanistan, two in Iraq and one in Africa. He would do a seven-month tour, have a month off, then do another seven-month tour. He joined the Marines right after 9/11. He says he took some shrapnel but otherwise survived.
When he was stationed in North Carolina, he knew it was time to get out of the service.
“My parents had retired and moved to Summerville and my sister found a job as a teacher in Walterboro,” he says. “It is cheaper to live here, so my wife and I moved here, where my mom and dad were.”
Terranova says he has always had a passion for helping people.
“I know it’s cliché but if you can at least help one other person … you’ve done a good job.”
Terranova says he had a “call to service” – first through the military and now through the police department.
He has been with SPD for four years in the patrol division.
In addition to his military and police academy training, he is also certified in Radar/Lidar, Standard Field Sobriety Testing, Active Shooter scenarios and is a Field Training Officer for new recruits.
He worked the night shift for a year and a half but is now on days, which works out much better for seeing and spending time with his family.
Coming from what he has seen and experienced in the Marines in combat, not much has been as bad since he joined the police department. “I have not felt anything that has caused me discomfort in police work…except when it comes to kids…that bothers me.
“I am very passionate about children and making sure they are cared for. I remember one incident with a little boy who was being physically abused …that hit close to home.”
His best experiences are training others. “I love to teach and share knowledge.” He gets that opportunity as a Field Training Officer.
His professional long-term goal is to be a patrol sergeant one day, he says. He thinks it would be great to do a lot of mentoring.
Short-term, is simply to continue to better himself as a patrol officer.
When not at work he is home with wife Jessica (“she’s the brains of the family”) and their three sons: Andrew, 5, Matthew, 2, and little Joshua, born March 24.
They have a German Shepard — Onyx, 2 — and a tabby cat Rusty, 9.
He loves being with his boys and takes them hunting and fishing and to the aquarium and parks. His son is in a soccer league and he enjoys that.
He is into both pro and college football and his teams are the NY Giants and NY Yankees.
He loves to cook and his days off are his days to cook. His specialties are Italian with the occasional barbecue thrown in.
He “can’t stand the beach,” he says. “I think I spent too much time in the ‘sandbox’ overseas.”
As far as what else he does in his spare time? “Whatever the ‘Honey Do List’ says…”
His life goal is to be the best husband and father he can be and continue being a great role model for his sons.