Commemorating Exar “Ponch” Ruiz Jr.

April 10, 2020

FirstEnergy recently lost a member of our family as a result of COVID-19.

Exar “Ponch” Ruiz Jr., an advanced Materials Control Specialist in Lakewood, N.J., passed away on April 6 after a courageous battle with COVID-19. He had tested positive for the virus the previous week and was subsequently placed on a ventilator.

Ponch was 55 and is survived by his wife Joyce and his five children, Jaz, Andrew, Nikki, Brandon and Elijah.

A native of Puerto Rico and a proud New Yorker, Ponch was both a wonderful family man and a die-hard New York Yankees fan. He had a love of baseball that he shared with his youngest son Elijah, and dedicated much of his free time to coaching Elijah’s team.

Ponch joined FirstEnergy in 2007, and with his positive energy and great sense of humor he quickly made friends from colleagues across the company. He will be remembered as the person his team relie​d on to bring calm to any situation, even during the most trying times.

Anyone wishing to send a card to his family can send them to Kevin Antal at the CAET building (below), In response to employee inquiries to support the family, the ETF Materials and Management Warehouse Group has set up a fund that will be provided to the family to help with college tuition for Ponch’s children. Checks can be made out to Kevin Antal or Elizabeth Pelfrey and sent to Kevin at the following address:

Kevin Antal
871 Mull Ave.
Akron, OH 44313

Employees who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or having difficulty coping during this public health emergency are encouraged to access the Life Resources Employee Assistance Program, or EAP. Free for all employees and household members, the EAP offers counseling, webinars, a variety of articles and a COVID-19 resource page, as well as information on dealing with stress, marital or family conflicts, caregiving, elder and childcare concerns, legal and financial issues and much more.

Ponch during one of his annual trips to the Little League World Series.