Page 48 - November 2021
P. 48

 Helping a Brother Out
  Lodge 7 members bring a wave of support to benefit Cantore
Before the fundraiser that packed the FOP Hall, Andrew Cantore shares his story with members of the local media.
Cigar smoke filled the air as the mu-
sic slowly faded into the background and the spotlight hit Lodge 7 Field Rep Andrew Cantore. Members from across the city were gathered with the common goal of being here for Cantore.
“This is the first time in my entire life where I had to ask for help,” said Cantore, his eyes welling with tears, the words catching in his throat.
On Oct. 25, the FOP Hall was filled with his family, friends and colleagues who love the opportunity to get together, have some celebratory refreshments and even watch a little football. But they love Cantore even more.
After hearing that Cantore, who has served so many officers working for six years at the academy and the past three years as a field rep, is fighting an ongo- ing battle with an autoimmune disease, Lodge 7, opened its arms for Cantore without hesitation and offered him a shoulder to lean on. Lodge 7 President John Catanzara was the first to suggest a fundraiser to help provide financial relief for Cantore’s upcoming chemotherapy treatments. As president, Catanzara be- lieves in helping a member in need and rallying support for any officer in dis- tress.
“I know fundraisers are done all across the city for different officers’ situations,” Catanzara explained. “But when it’s this close to home, it was the right thing to
do. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we do it.”
Cantore is a man who provides for members by getting in the office by 7 a.m. every day and staying to answer their every phone call regarding the medical benefits he oversees. The Monday Night Football Fundraiser was a huge success, and it showed Cantore the same kind of support and compassion he goes out of his way to give others.
“Words can’t even describe it,” said Cantore. “It was more than overwhelm- ing to see the amount of people there.”
It was a pay-it-forward moment for someone who has been a source of strength in the Lodge and the Depart- ment for so long. It will hopefully help him continue the fight against a disease that has been attacking his organs, hor- mones and bodily functions.
“Andrew has done so much for so many members, and it was great to see,” Catanzara added.
Recently, Cantore fought and advocat- ed on behalf of Chicago officers to receive pay after having to take COVID-related sick time that had initially been denied. After securing the benefit, Cantore has been an unsung hero for Lodge 7.
And although he would be the last person to ask for help or willingly want someone to hold a fundraiser on his be- half, he was overwhelmed by the heart- warming support. Catanzara shared how choked up Cantore became when he
Lodge 7 President John Catanzara offers praise for Andrew Cantore and thanks members for coming out to support him.
All those who attended were able to enjoy hand-rolled cigars.
stood up to speak at the event.
There was no reason to hold back. This was a night when the brotherhood came out to help one of its own, and that has long been a priority for Lodge 7.
“Nights like this,” Catanzara said, “are a perfect reminder that we are our broth- ers’ and sisters’ keepers.”

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