Page 5 - March 2021
P. 5

Official Magazine
President’s Report
Michael Mette
First Vice President
Daniel D. Gorman
Second Vice President
Fernando Flores
Third Vice President
Rob Noceda
Recording Secretary
Jim Jakstavich
Financial Secretary
Dennis McGuire
Dean Angelo Sr.
Immediate Past President
Nenad Markovich Frank Quinn III Daniel Sheehan
Harold Brown John Capparelli Pablo Claudio Frank J. DiMaria David DiSanti Mark P. Donahue Patrick Duckhorn Tim Fitzpatrick Dan Goetz Ken Hauser Tom Lonergan Brock Merck Steve Olsen Monica Ortiz Dan Quaid Ron Shogren Daniel G. Trevino
Field Representative
Andrew Cantore
   Brother Woitel gives us all a new lease on life
Turn back to the cover of this issue and take another look. Area 3 Detective Geoff Woitel gives us such an uplifting feeling, just like he did every day on the job and every day of life. We have his picture here out of tribute, and as a reminder that tomorrow is not granted to any of us.
We tragically lost Geoff at 49 years old to pancreatic cancer. Ironically, a year ago, he was helping a friend who was dying of cancer put his affairs in order. Geoff stood up and helped because that’s what he did every day. Who would have thought less than a year later he would be gone, leaving two kids behind?
I never met Geoff. Some Area 3 detectives and friends in the Department organized a walk-by parade on Feb. 24, the day he passed. More than 250 people showed up. It was pretty f---ing amazing.
There were a lot of ball-busting signs as a tribute to his wicked sense of humor. One of the funniest signs I saw was, “Don’t forget to finish your e-learning, Geoff.” It was that kind of gathering, to remember how much fun you can – and should – have in life and not take anything too seriously. That’s how Geoff lived life, and we all need to do what we can to follow his lead.
We were able to get the horses out there to honor Geoff. The Department was supposed to have a flyover with Air One, but that didn’t happen. At the end, they played “Sweet Home Chicago” from “The Blues Brothers,” his favorite movie. Wish I had known that sooner, because I could have facilitated getting a Blues Brother mobile out there. Afterward, the guys from the Lodge went down the street to have lunch, and literally by the time we ordered our food, we got the notice that he had passed.
That was surreal. It was like he knew that his family was in good hands, that his blue family was going to take care of them. And it was time to go.
The story goes on from there. I think it’s all about embracing life. I never knew the guy, but you know what they say: You learn a lot about a person by their friends. And by the time I left that gather- ing, I felt like I had known the guy before, like I had a beer with him somewhere.
You couldn’t help but relate to all the stories that people were talking, like he was somebody who would absolutely get along with everybody and have a good time. I regret that I never actually crossed paths with Geoff that I know of, but it’s just really humbling to see that many people come out on their own time to give him a final sendoff.
That’s the best tribute any Chicago Police Officer can have. That’s a tribute to a life dedicated to all that is great about our job.
Get busy living
Lodge 7 is also dedicating effort to help all members live long, healthy, fulfilling lives. We’re looking to restart the wellness fairs the Lodge was previously doing per the contract.
We’re getting $75,000 a year from the City to facilitate them, but our proposal is to supersize well- ness fairs. We’re asking for a half-million dollars a year to create even more programs and have a healthier membership. In turn, we believe this will save the City long-term healthcare costs in ex- change for a freeze on healthcare contributions.
Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 has been running a program like this that provides healthcare coverage across the board for active and retired members at no cost. We have met with the leaders of the Philly FOP Law Enforcement Health Benefits Plan (LEHB), and it’s a benefit they have negotiated into their contract.
The City has been absolutely uninterested in negotiating healthcare contribution rates with us, but the wellness fair seems to be at least something they understood and somewhat seemed to agree with. We just tendered that proposal at the end of February, so we’ll see what kind of traction it gets.
It doesn’t have to be part of the larger package in the contract. It can be a stand-alone agreement. I think the sooner we get on top of that, the better for everybody, especially our members.
You can read more about this in the story beginning on page 32. The wellness fairs are going to be dedicated to bringing in people to do screenings and provide members with resources to get all the checks that they would need to find warning signs of health issues.
The City is going to give us the budget to do it, and we’re going to find providers to make it happen. We’re going to try and partner with one of the hospital systems at the very least for the medical per- sonnel part of it.
In Philly, they have added incentives to encourage participation and keep people going, whether it’s weight-loss challenges or follow-ups with doctors. Our healthcare subcommittee is meeting to discuss what we can do as far as incentives and with a program similar to the LEHB in Chicago.
Their numbers don’t lie. They’ve saved the city of Philadelphia nearly $41 million over the past four years. And despite the percentage of average healthcare increases across the country, they actually

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