GLEN BURNIE - As a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan, Richard Tameris will be wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey for the remainder of the 2013-2014 football season.
He is doing so in honor of his friend and former coworker Richard Michael "Mike" Ridgell, 52, of Westminster, who died Sept. 16 from a fatal gunshot wound in the Washington Navy Yard shootings.
Fort Washington resident Tameris was one of many attendees of one of two viewings for Ridgell, held Friday afternoon and evening at Singleton Funeral & Cremation Services in Glen Burnie. A funeral service for Ridgell - who was working as a security guard at the Navy Yard when he was shot - is being held at 11 a.m. today at The Church of Severn Run in Severn.
"You couldn't find a nicer person in the world," Tameris said of Ridgell. "We'd chit-chat about sports - last year when Baltimore beat the Cowboys, he kind of let me have it."
Tameris said he has since returned to work at the Navy Yard, and called it "lonesome" and "eerie" without Ridgell there to say hello to him every morning.
"He loved to talk and smiled at everybody who came through the gate," Tameris said.
Suzanne Torchini, of Stafford, Va., was another Navy Yard employee to attend Ridgell's viewing. She said, to her, Ridgell was a hero. She said he was rushing people out of the building after gunman Aaron Alexis started an attack that left 13 people dead, including himself.
"He saved a lot of people. ... He went running toward danger and he told us to run away," Torchini said of Ridgell.
Like Tameris, Torchini said she will remember Ridgell for his happy disposition and also, his love for his daughters: Megan, Madison and Heather.
"He was always smiling, happy, bragging about his beautiful daughters," Torchini said. " ... Every day was just another adventure."
Tony Picciotto, of Manchester, and Tom Holton, of Woodbine, said they knew Ridgell from their softball team The Dreamers. Picciotto was also an in-law of Ridgell's, whom he described as "the type of guy who gave it 110 percent."
"He was like a big kid," Picciotto said.
Holton said Ridgell was always a prankster, and gave the example of the first time Ridgell picked him up for a softball game. He said Ridgell was working as a state trooper at the time, and he could hear Ridgell get out of his car and say, "Come out of the house with your hands up - we've got the house surrounded."
"I looked down the street and he was at the wrong house," Holton said with a laugh.
Since Ridgell spent 17 years with the Maryland State Police and another three years working in security in Iraq, Holton said it initially had not occurred to him that Ridgell had lost his life in the Navy Yard shooting.
"If there was any person you'd want to stop a situation, it would be him," Holton said.
He said The Dreamers would be competing in a tournament in Ocean City in four weeks, during which they would all be wearing Ridgell's number. Holton said he had yet to attend a practice since Ridgell's death.
"It's going to be tough, but he would want [us to continue]. He wouldn't want us not to play," Holton said.
Finksburg resident Robert Hood said he knew Ridgell through working with his brother, Todd. Hood said he saw Ridgell at various family functions, and remembered him as "a friendly, outgoing person who would do anything for anyone."
Hood said he saw pictures of Ridgell tailgating before the Ravens game the day before he died. He said that, considering the circumstances, Ridgell's family seemed to be healing well.
"I think because of the time between then and now, the emotions seem to have run their gamut," Hood said.
Ridgell was the son of Shirley and Dick Ridgell, of Lewes, Del. Surviving, in addition to his parents, are daughters Megan and Madison Ridgell, and their mother, Tracey Lyons Ridgell, of Westminster; daughter Heather Ridgell Hunt and husband Justin, of Martinsburg, W.Va; her mother, Linda Feather Grove, of Middletown; a grandmother, Juanita Ware, of Lewes; and a brother, Todd Ridgell, of Brooklyn Park.
Ridgell was a 1979 graduate of Brooklyn Park High School, and worked as a Maryland State Police trooper from January 1983 until August 2000. He resigned with the rank of corporal, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley. He then worked at Johns Hopkins Medicine from July 2000 to July 2007 as a security investigator, according to Johns Hopkins spokeswoman Stephanie Desmon. He also worked as a contractor training police in Iraq for a period as well, according to media reports.