Each year the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors fallen officers with its annual tree lighting ceremony. Located at its memorial that’s nestled between Soldier Field and Burnham Harbor, this year’s ceremony was brought to life with the support of Powering Chicago member Midwest Interstate Electrical Construction Company.
“One of my brothers is a retired Chicago Police officer, so for me, it was an immediate yes to participate in this project,” said Mike Reynolds, superintendent at Morgan Park-based Midwest Interstate Electrical Construction. “It’s important that we light the trees at the memorial, to shine the light on our first responders, especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving and protecting Chicago.”
The memorial serves to honor, remember and recognize Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers killed in the line of duty. As part of that mission, the foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.
Honoring the lives of Chicago’s fallen heroes
It started when retired CPD superintendent and current Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Executive Director Phil Cline was traveling for police meetings and conferences, he saw that other cities had memorials honoring fallen officers and was determined to bring that concept to Chicago.
“Motorola gave us $750,000, a number of business people gave us $100,000 to start. Once the money was raised and the park was paid off we thought, ‘why don’t we continue to do this and help the families out?’” said Cline.
Since the memorial was dedicated in 2006, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation continues to support the families of CPD’s fallen heroes and has raised $16 million to date.
“We have 22 kids right now that we’re paying for tuition and books. We have one in preschool, and one that will start med school at Georgetown University. When they graduate they don’t have a dime of debt. We pick up the tab for all of that,” said Cline.
Supporting CPD families during the holiday season
The foundation also holds a handful of events throughout the year, including a 5K run/walk, a candlelight vigil and the Christmas tree lighting ceremony — all to remember the sacrifices of these brave men and women.
“This is a tough time of the year for anyone who’s lost someone. Especially hard for families who have lost an officer who died before their time,” said Cline.
This is the first year the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation has worked with Powering Chicago partners for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Electricians from Midwest Interstate Electrical Construction Co. installed lights on three evergreen trees, each over 30-feet tall, at the memorial site. They also received help from United Rentals, a National Electrical Contractors Association premiere partner, who donated a boom lift to help complete this special project.
Because of the meaning behind this initiative, it was a labor of love for the Midwest Interstate team, a company built on a strong family foundation that values long-term relationships. Midwest Interstate Electrical Construction Co. prides itself on delivering best-in-class work, while prioritizing safety for its electricians. To learn more or contact Midwest Interstate Electrical Construction Co., visit their website.
“My favorite part of the project is that my coworkers that helped the day we strung the lights, Carl Gatto and Joe Potter, were more than happy to be asked to help,” said Reynolds. “We all were happy to do our part, and to hopefully put smiles on the faces of Gold Star families during the holiday season.”
Visit the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation website to learn more or to support fallen or catastrophically-injured CPD officers and their families.