Page 37 - October 2021
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  Joshua Blas appears on stage during the Zac Brown Band concert at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.
rock bottom on Aug. 7.
“The Department is hurting, but they are lifted up by the ac-
tions of Ella French, Josh Blas and my son and how they conduct- ed themselves and how they dared,” Carlos Sr. confirmed. “And a good part of the country saw that.”
Because God is not done with him, the power of Carlos has touched every officer in the Department. Junior heard that one of his sisters had been involved in a shooting and took a bullet in the leg. He told his father that he wanted her phone number.
Senior made some calls. He had her number in 10 minutes. Ju- nior called her. The call had to be short, but she ended by telling Junior how much better it had made her feel.
The question often comes up about whether Carlos will ever get back on the job. The prevailing thought is, that would be an- other miracle. But when you hear about this phone call to a sister who was shot, the truth is that he is still on the job. And always will be.
“He says, ‘Well, if I can’t do the job from here or there, I’ll find a way,’” Carlos Sr. assured.
CarlosStrong has become a positive police story to talk about. Nicole shares that she has had officers and their families from Sweden, Spain, Peru and many other countries reach out to say they have been inspired by Junior’s recovery.
It’s inspiring some of the most amazing pro-police stories in the world. Carlos Sr. and Yvette were on the way to a fundraiser on a mid-September Saturday when they heard about two girls in Garfield Ridge who were selling lemonade and cookies to raise money for Junior. So they stopped by and bought some lemonade and cookies to take to Junior.
A post on the CarlosStrong page from Sept. 12 tells of Sullivan Hjelm and Cam Gabler from Prior Lake, Minnesota, who raised a total of $2,025 during their one-day “Snack Shack” fundraiser for Officer Carlos Yanez Jr. Closer to home, the Orland Park Po- lice Department posted on Sept. 3 about a group of students from Saint Michael School who ran a lemonade stand and donated all proceeds to the family of injured Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Jr.
“I think so many people can relate to him, and they are just sending him strength. So it’s definitely a two-way street, where people are inspired by him, but he’s also inspired by people,” Ni- cole submitted. “You know, there was talk about an event, and he was like, ‘Well, maybe I can sneak out of rehab, or they can give me a couple of hours to go to the event.’ His wife was saying, ‘Ev- eryone’s going to want to talk to you.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, I know.
Visits from his son, CJ, have been the best medicine to help Carlos in his recovery.
I want that.’”
It’s not hard to understand what keeps Junior so inspired, so
uplifted. A post from his beloved wife, Brenda, so eloquently de- fines the motivation.
September 1
Today is such a special day, CJs 3rd Birthday and 1st Day of school. Thank God for technology. Daddy was able to walk to school with his pride and joy via FaceTime. I know that he would do anything to personally walk with him. Even if he was on zero sleep after working late, he would be there front and center.
It is not lost on Junior what every movement, every step for- ward, means for Brenda and CJ and the world.
“I can see it in his eyes that he’s just burning through it, and I asked him, ‘What’s your motivation? What are you thinking about?’” Nicole added. “First and foremost, his son and his wife. But when he hears from people at events, I think he realizes he touches a lot of people. Not just law enforcement, but also the spouses and the families. There’s a lot of people supporting them and running the same risk we ran. And they feel like it touches them.”
Miracles do happen
Junior’s recovery has touched Jim Mullen. Mullen has been there. He still is. On Oct. 17, 1996, Chicago Police Officer Jim Mul- len and other officers responded to a report of gunshots being fired from an apartment building in the 1400 block of West Estes Avenue.
An off-duty security guard fired at the officers, and Mullen was hit in the face. The bullet lodged in his spine. After six years on the job, Mullen was left a quadriplegic. With a young wife and a 7-month-old daughter.
Like Carlos Sr., Mullen’s dad was also a Chicago Police Officer who did 30 years. He knows how the love of your family and the officers on the job standing by you can be the foundation of re- covery. When Mullen does eventually post on the CarlosStrong page, it might go something like this:
You learn as you go along, and you find out what works for you and what doesn’t. One thing I am really good at is being a good patient, because when people tell me stuff, I listen. You’ve got to take care of your health first. For the first year or two, focus completely on recovery. Don’t make any major

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