Joan Hadac

Joan Hadac

Donna can’t wait, and neither should we

By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • [email protected]

The Faith-Based Subcommittee of the CPD’s Chicago Lawn (8th) District is hosting its Police and Families Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23 in Kennedy High School’s west parking lot, near 56th and Narragansett.

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.

joanhadac 1

Joan Hadac

She and the rest of the subcommittee are looking for monetary donations from area churches, businesses and individuals. In the past, she said, two to four officers were treated to a small celebration in the community room at the Eighth District station and given awards for the outstanding work they did all 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 Oct. 23 event 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 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.

Donna is no stranger to the heartbreak of the grieving families and friends of the officers whom this event is being dedicated to. 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.

To donate to this event, please call Donna at (630) 607-9796 or email her at [email protected]

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.”

More for the calendar

The Clearing Civic League will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Hale Park, 6258 W. 62nd St. Scheduled guest speaker is Dr. Michael Bakalis, who will discuss his plan to found a private high school in the old St. Rene School building. As you may recall, his plan was covered in this paper last month. For details, click here: https://www.southwestregionalpublishing.com/2021/09/14/another-new-high-school-in-clearing/
  • The Clear-Ridge Historical Society will host Frank Werner, former chief engineer of Ford City for 47 years, as he guides the audience through The History of Ford City at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20.

You can register for this free, online-only program by visiting chipublib.bibliocommons.com. Look under “Events” for The History of Ford City. You will receive a link to join the Zoom program about a day before the program is scheduled.

For details, call Rob Bitunjac, Clear-Ridge Historical Society president and branch manager of the Clearing Branch Library, at (312) 747-5657.

  • The Garfield Ridge Civic League will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20 at CrossRoads Community Church, 5433 S. Austin.

GRCL President Hank Pukala tells me the scheduled guest speaker is Chicago Lawn (8th) District Commander Bryan Spreyne.

Please enter the church via its east doors. There is plenty of off-street parking. Free pastries and coffee will be available. Masks must be worn, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

GRCL membership is a wonderfully low $10 a year (or less than 3¢ a day, spread out over a year); so if you’re already a member and need to renew, please do so at the meeting. If you live in Garfield Ridge and want to give it a try, please stop by and join.

Founded in 1939 as the West End Civic League, the GRCL has for decades served as a non-partisan group of homeowners and other residents who work together to build a better, safer and stronger neighborhood.

  • The Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce and Clearing Night Force have changed the time and date of their upcoming classic car show. You can support the Clearing Neighborhood Watch group while visiting the 63rd Street Car Show from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24.

Registration is not required. Cars being exhibited should be parked at the Hoyne Bank parking lot at 63rd and Narragansett, the New Warsaw restaurant parking lot on 63rd and Mobile, and on the street.

Parking spaces are limited for those who would like to exhibit their cars and are available on a first come, first served basis.

Raffles will be available, with the proceeds going toward the Clearing Night Force. Food trucks will be parked on 63rd and Mulligan.

For more information, visit the Clearing Night Force page on Facebook.

  • The Two Holy Martyrs Parish Transformation Team is hosting Oktoberfest Bingo on Sunday, Oct. 24 in the Sharp Center on the St. Symphorosa Campus, 5940 W. 62nd St.

There is a $20 admission fee at the door. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and the games begin at 1:30 p.m. The event will have pulltabs and a split the pot raffle. For more information, call (773) 767-1523.

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