Brook’s latest request: Can you click for a fallen cop?
Last Friday, I was in Chicago and heard, on the car radio, that there was a police funeral in progress that afternoon for a fallen police officer who died in an automobile accident in the line of duty. He lived on the very street where I was headed to pick up my grandson from school; a neighborhood I’m quite familiar with. My heart felt a chill and my hands began to tremble as I gripped the steering wheel tighter.
News reports like that one cause me a measure of cold dread. My daughter Brook is a Chicago police officer, as is her husband and her father. All of them work for the department, as does Brook’s cousin Joe.
Our family has a long history of police service. I wore a police uniform for almost six years in the role of crisis interventionist for a suburban Milwaukee police department. Brook was raised in an environment where family plans often were put on hold for the latest police emergency; the pager going off or the phone ringing. The uniform was always ready, always pressed; I.D. and badge always within reach. The department defined our lives. So you might also well imagine the emotions I felt at the moment the bagpipes and drums sounded at Navy Pier during my daughter’s police academy graduation ceremony.
The day she stood before her class to give the speech on behalf of her graduating class (an honor earned), tears streamed down my cheeks. I knew the sacrifices she would have to make, and the suffering she would endure — and also the pride she would feel at the end of some shifts because she would make a difference. The moment the mayor of Chicago stood and clapped for her and she snapped off a smart salute and took her place among her comrades in blue — that was the moment I knew her career dreams were realized.
Since then, she’s married a wonderful man and they’ve accomplished new goals, including the birth of their son. They’ve made a good life together — one rooted in love, opportunity, and service.
Another officer hasn’t been as fortunate.
Brook worked with Officer Densey Cole, pictured above. She says that he “always had a smile and funny tale for everyone.” But now he rides in a wheelchair rather than a squad car.
On May 27, 2009, Officer Densey Cole of the Chicago Police Department was responding to a robbery call when his marked police vehicle was struck by another motorist. As a result of the collision, Officer Cole was immediately paralyzed. As Densey lay helpless in his marked patrol vehicle, he was assaulted by two criminals. One removed the officer’s gun from his duty belt, held the gun to his head, and told the injured officer, “I should kill you, [expletitive].” Then he stole the officer’s wallet.
The subsequent criminal assault (which occured in front of horrified bystanders) caused additional, extensive injuries to Cole.
Cole eventually was taken to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado for treatment and rehabilitation, where he was adopted by the Denver Police Department as a hero, and shown an outpouring of support from area officers. When he awoke from the coma four weeks after the accident and assault, he married his fiance, Mary, in the hospital.
Today, Cole remains a quadriplegic. But he is nonetheless reaching out to his police community this month, and by extension, my daughter is reaching out to me … and I’m reaching out to you. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
First, I want reintroduce Brook to Dane County again.
Some of you may remember …
… that Dane County collected over 3,000 pounds of supplies for military troops stationed in the war zone in the Middle East in response to a request from the Salvation Army for help. My daughter joined the Air Force as a military police officer at age 19. She was the airman on the other side of the world who initiated that request; she was the one who channeled hundreds of packages over a five-month period to soldiers stationed in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan. Many of those soldiers were your loved ones, too, and you helped her reach them.
She also was the one who collected hundreds of letters from Dane County school children and scouts and made sure they were delivered to young men and women who needed encouragement during difficult assignments in the service of our country. One of those recipients was a helicopter pilot who emailed his thanks back to Dane County the day before he and half of his squad were killed when his big bird fell out of the sky.
Yes, I’m proud (and truly humbled at the same time) to say that the young woman who coordinated that drive in a combat region was my daughter. So you know that if she makes any request of me, I’m likely to do my best to honor it. Likewise, many of you helped package the hundreds of barrels of donated goods that arrived at the Salvation Army during that drive, and so already are acquainted with her activism on behalf of her troop and duty. And you responded in kind.
What if she knocked on your door again now?
So what is my daughter asking for today?
Not phone cards, canned chicken or reading materials this time. She’s only asking that you go online to www.crateandbarrel.com and vote for Densey Cole and his wife Mary to win an ultimate wedding package via a contest sponsored by Crate and Barrel. The winner gets a “dream wedding and honeymoon” in the place of their choice (which would be Mexico for this couple).
Yes, the contest is an obvious marketing gimmick on the part of Crate and Barrel to garner e-mail names (but you can opt out of any marketing materials they later may mail). Yes, unfortunately my blog, as a result, smacks of a chain letter — though this plea (and prize) is real and not some online urban myth. And the prize could really change the quality of one young man’s life — and we might all agree he’s earned it.
On the upside, it’s easy to do. I know, because I just did it. In fact, it takes about one minute to help support this officer and his family in accomplishing his new goal — to have him “stand” with the aid of a machine and watch his bride walk down an aisle.
Given his rising medical bills, a wedding and honeymoon ceremony otherwise would be an impossible dream for Densey and Mary. Injured officers really do not live the life of luxury while negotiating rising medical bills and dwindling benefits.
If you choose to participate, you would click the link above and then enter the contest area by visitng Ultimate Wedding section (click here), which brings you to a description of the contest. On the right side of that page is a “vote now” button (or simply, click here). When the next screen opens, click the option to see the listing with the “most votes” (click here) and Densey Cole’s story should be front and center. So is the button to vote.
All that is required is that you click that button and then verify your e-mail address via a link that will be posted in your e-mail inbox.
It honestly takes about one minute to help support this officer and his family.
One minute. Two or three, perhaps, if you kindly e-mail your friends and ask them to vote for him, too.
I hope you can find that minute to reach out to this young police family, and both Brook and I thank you in advance for your continued support.
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