In an effort to recognize sacrifices made by Chicago Police officers severely injured in the line of duty, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation recently dedicated a statue that pays fitting tribute to these often overlooked heroes.
The statue is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation and sits along Chicago's lakefront at the Chicago Police Memorial.
The statue features an officer in uniform, sitting in wheelchair surrounded by his children, his wife and his partner. Chicago's five major sports teams played an instrumental role in raising funds and awareness about the effort, which began in late 2009.
"Chicago is a city defined by our heroes in uniform, be they sports uniforms or police uniforms," said Foundation executive director Philip J. Cline.
"Names like Jordan, Banks, Mikita, Payton and Minoso are well known and will never be forgotten. But Chicago also has heroes named Brumley, Cole, Domagala, Mullen and Van Vegten who have endured great pain and made great sacrifice for the people of this city. This statue and this effort ensures that they and others like them will always be remembered."
Cedric Brumley, Densey Cole, Bernie Domagala, Jim Mullen and Andre Van Vegten are Chicago Police officers who suffered tragic, permanently debilitating injuries in the line of duty.
"It brings us all great comfort to know that this statue means that the sacrifices we have made for the city and its people will always be remembered and appreciated," said Brumley, who suffered serious injuries in a squad car accident in 2002.
Officers Cole and Van Vegten were also severely injured in squad car accidents. Officers Mullen and Domagala suffered gunshot wounds in separate incidents. All live with the pain and memory of their injuries every day. All are confined to wheelchairs. All are fathers.
"We can never underestimate the value of the path chosen by members of law enforcement," said Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.
"Police officers have made a lifetime commitment willingly - to accept a life of risk to serve a cause. This is a commitment most dare not make and a challenge only the best are capable of honoring. On behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I thank all who have made this treasured addition to the Memorial possible. It will serve as an inspiration to us all for years to come."
"The Chicago Bears are proud to support this important new initiative of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation," said George McCaskey, Vice Chairman of the Chicago Bears. "The brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department report for work each day not knowing what danger they may face as they protect the city of Chicago and its citizens. The Chicago Bears are honored to join together with the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox to provide assistance to those officers who have been catastrophically injured in the line of duty."
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation commissioned world-renowned sculptors Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany to design and sculpt the bronze, bas-relief and steel statue. Among other works, Rot-blatt and Amrany designed the world-famous Michael Jordan statue at Chicago's United Center. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago Police Officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Since 2007, the Foundation has provided more than $1.3 million to families of fallen and catastrophically injured Chicago Police officers.
The Foundation provides tuition assistance and education grants (grammar school through college) for children of officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty, and pays the insurance premiums for officers who are terminally ill. Organizations or individuals wishing to contribute to this tribute to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty can visit the Foundation's website at www.cpdmemorial.org or call 312-499-8899.
Dave Bayless is the former director of communications for the Chicago Police Dept. and president of Bayless Communications. He can be reached at:
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