Page 31 - FOP May 2019 Magazine
P. 31

   Chicago Lodge 7 Memorial Service
    As Chicago Police Chaplain Rabbi Moshe sermonized with lessons for the day, he offered two compelling observations.
“First, nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. Make the most of ev- ery day and try to find something to laugh about,” he began. “And sometimes, there are moments in life for which there are no words, so we provide comfort by our mere presence.”
The presence inspired some of those at the FOP on this day to share perspectives about just how much the memorial meant.
Gaines performs at many Chicago police events and ceremo- nies with a voice that comes from the angels. But at a ceremony like the Lodge 7 Memorial Service, she is playing to a specific audience, singing loud enough for the fallen officers to hear.
“Absolutely. More so to make them proud, I guess,” Gaines shared. “And to acknowledge their sacrifice.”
The beauty of her presence is the way it speaks volumes on behalf of all officers. Gaines’ dulcet tones offered a get-well card to the families of the fallen and a salve for what they are feeling.
“For the lack of a better word, a hole is left,” she explained. “I try to temporarily fill that hole with love and hope that God’s love spreads through them while I’m singing.”
But even if she didn’t sing a note, Gaines would be here. The love in the room is a necessary vitamin for Chicago Police Offi- cers, especially this year.
“It gives us the strength to continue,” Gaines confided. “And the more people we see in the process that is in a role of sup- port, the better it is for us because we need support and encour- agement as well.”
Making their presence felt meant members taking this op- portunity to extend their arms to Crystal and Samuel. Know this, Chicago Police Officers: She felt it.
“Definitely did,” Crystal confirmed. “It brings back a lot and I’m very appreciative that they won’t forget him. And I know they won’t.”
They remember that Samuel had a big heart. They will never forget how many people he saved at Mercy Hospital on Nov. 19 when, without hesitation, he ran toward gunfire.
And he continued to save people after that fateful day by be- ing a tissue and organ donor. Crystal reported this news after the Lodge 7 Memorial Service, perhaps plugging into the pride the day inspired and no doubt taking advantage of the therapy that came with the love.
“It feels kind of like a wound and you’re constantly opening it, but at the same time to me it feels like I’m really grateful,” Crystal related.
After the ceremony, members and friends gathered to give her a hug. Indeed, this day was a reminder that the FOP, the De- partment and the City will never let her go.
“I hope not,” she said with a smile.
Maria Marmolejo came to the Lodge 7 Memorial Service not just to feel the consoling words, but to confer her own words of thanks. She wanted Chicago Police Officers to know she never expected so much support to come from them and what a dif- ference it has made.
“Even though it’s the worst time in our life, it’s just really nice to know that everybody’s there and they’re so supportive,” Ma- ria shared. “It’s what he would have wanted, and it helps us heal in a way.”
The names of fallen Chicago Police Officers Eduardo Marmolejo, Conrad Gary and Sam- uel Jimenez are added to the memorial in the courtyard outside the Chicago FOP.
Lodge 7 provided for all those who attended. This was a time to swap some stories, and Maria lit up when sharing about the first time Eduardo told her about Gary.
Conrad’s wife, Kelly, had broken her arm and Lalo – as the many who loved him called Eduardo – told Gary to stay home from work and take care of his wife. It was easy to feel the love through Maria’s words.
“That’s just how Lalo was, and I love him for that and I’m go- ing to honor him for that,” she declared. “Definitely feeling the love today. The love from our family, from our second family, from the (Chicago Police) Memorial Foundation, the FOP, the police department – everybody has just been so great.”
Maria also wanted to channel a few words from Lalo that were fitting for the day.
“It’s just like, enjoy life, hug your spouse or love each other,” she added. “That’s how he lived and I’m going to honor him and
keep living that way.”
The presence at the Lodge 7 Memorial Service did not need to be overwhelming to be meaningful. In fact, as master of cere- monies, Graham seemed perfectly content presiding over what was a family affair, an intimate gathering of those who wanted to be there, as he said.
Graham explained how the courtyard where the Lodge’s me- morial wall stands holds special significance. It’s a public place,
       The healing continued after the service during the lunch

   29   30   31   32   33