Dedicated. Honorable. Heroic. Those are just a few of the words that have been used to describe retired Roxbury Police Lt. Joseph Franklin, who died Wednesday of injuries he suffered on Monday while participating in the 20th Annual Police Unity Tour.

As word spread of Franklin's death, remembrances and condolences for the family began to appear all over social media.

The messages and posts came from police and fire departments throughout the country, as well as from civilians who knew the 25-year police veteran from his work as an officer and as the head of the Roxbury Police Explorer Post 2188, which he initiated in 1991.

"Joe was a huge part of our family in so many ways ... from Christmas Trees to a tragic accident in our family. He has watched one of our sons go from (the Explorer program) to a Secret Service Agent on the Presidential Detail and will always be grateful," commented Marysue Stumpf on the Roxbury Police Facebook page.

"Such a tragedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I know you will be watching over those as they cross the finish line today in your honor. RIP brother," Marie Lyn wrote on the page.

"RIP Joe! We will take the watch from here!," Crickett Nissen wrote. "Thank you for all your dedication and example you provided to us all! My thoughts and prayers for your family both blood and blue!"

And from Arnold Rothenberg: "Thank you Chief for telling us about Joe. Those of us on the ride are in shock. ... We are deeply saddened that one of us has lost his life doing this thing that we are all so committed to. The day this tragedy happened he was doing what we all love doing ... being a cop."

Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association and part of the Police Unity tour, said in an email that "Joe Franklin was a cop that made us all look good. He had an incredibly successful career that affected literally thousands. He continues to save lives through the donations of his organs and his legacy will be remembered forever. Job well done!"

Franklin had been involved in a dozen-bicyclist pileup during the Unity Tour, an annual event to honor fallen officers, and suffered severe head injuries, NJ Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan told NJ 101.5 in an interview on Bill Spadea’s morning show Wednesday morning.

"Joe was enthusiastic about how much he was enjoying retirement and how great everything was going in North Carolina. He told me he had become an avid bike rider and said he started every day with a 25-35-mile ride and then he would play gold or head to the beach," Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi said in a statement Wednesday Night. "He was excited about and looking forward to the Unity Tour to ride in honor of the fallen and see all of his friends who were also making the trip. We shook hands, wished each other well and he told me to tell all of the guys to be safe as he rode away. A short time later, he was involved in the accident."

Franklin was an organ donor, according to Roxbury police. Funeral arrangements for Franklin have not yet been announced.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM