Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Here's a Great Chance to Say "Thanks" to Chicago Police and Their Families

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

All of us have read stories of individuals and organizations that go out of their way to thank the police for their service.

I like reading those stories, and I'll bet you do, as well.

But what about the families of police officers, the people who "back the blue" each and every day?

They typically go uncelebrated and even unnoticed by most of us.

But for one day this month, that changes.

A "Police and Families Appreciation Day" is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, October 23 in Kennedy High School’s west parking lot, near 56th and Narragansett.

The event is hosted by the Faith-Based Subcommittee of the CPD’s Chicago Lawn (8th) District.

I spoke with Donna Marquez, subcommittee chairman and volunteer chaplain for the district. She explained the event is for police officers who live and work in the district, as well as their families.

She and the rest of the subcommittee are looking for monetary donations from area churches, businesses and individuals. To donate, please call Donna at (630) 607-9796 or email her at 

In years past, she told me, the subcommittee would have an annual event in the community room of the Eighth District Police Station--where they would honor a few officers who had gone above and beyond the call of duty during the previous year.

But because of the pandemic, that setting was scratched.

Donna wasn’t having it.

“We are not waiting a year,” she said. “These people are grieving.”

So the October 23 event is moving forward at Kennedy. It is being dedicated to the late CPD Officer Ella French, as well as Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., who continues to struggle with injuries sustained when he was shot in the head.
The late CPD Officer Ella French.

The event also will honor the memory of the young CPD officer who ended his own life this summer in a vehicle parked at Hale Park.

The goal of Donna and her group is to treat the officers and their families to a few hours of fun and relaxation. They would like to include kids’ games, raffles and prizes, food and resources for the officers who live and work in our district.

The event is not funded by City Hall, so Donna and crew are counting on all of us to step forward and write a check. Seems most reasonable to me, given all that police officers (and by extension, their families) do for the rest of us.

A bit of background: you may know that Donna is no stranger to the heartbreak of CPD families that grieve. She lives it. Her brother, CPD Officer Donald “Don” Marquez, was shot and killed in the line of duty on March 18, 2002.

“I do what I do because it is my brother’s legacy. My brother didn’t die in vain,” Donna said emphatically.
Before ending our conversation, Donna left me these words to ponder: “What they can do, we can’t do. What we can do, they can’t do.”

I hope you join me in thanking Donna Marquez and the Faith-Based Subcommittee. If you will, please contact her with an offer of support to make the October 23 event a success.

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