Community rallies to help him, his family
By Jay Meisel
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - For much of his life, Tommy Worthington, a St. Lucie County deputy, fought crime, and on his off time, remained physically active, including running in marathons, his sister said last week.
But on Monday, Deputy Worthlington lost the fight of his life and died after having contracted a rare autoimmune disease.
"Deputy Worthlington was an exemplary law enforcement officer, and all of us in the sheriff's office family feel a deep sense of loss at this time," St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said in a press release. "I have directed our deputies to shroud their badges."
Deputy Worthlington's sister, Laura Boyer, said doctors discovered earlier this year he had a rare autoimmune disorder, dermatonyositis, a disease that affects muscles, she said.
While he struggled to recover, he was "overwhelmed by the amount of support he's received," she said.
The sheriff's office and community stepped up to help the family, she said.
At a barbecue recently at the sheriff's office, hundreds of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, firefighters and friends donated $13,000 to help Deputy Worthlington and his family, a sheriff's office press release said.
Efforts are still underway to help his family with medical expenses.
Members of the public can send tax-deductible donations to the St. Lucie County Crime Prevention League, noting on the check that it's for Deputy Worthlington.
The check can be mailed to the St. Lucie Crime Prevention League in care of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, 400 W. Midway Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34981-4825.
Deputy Worthlington joined the sheriff's office in 2009, after having worked as a Port St. Lucie police officer for five years.
Ms. Boyer said her brother wanted to become a law enforcement officer since he was a child in New York and has a lot of "love and passion" for serving in that capacity.
Two of their uncles were law enforcement officers, she said.