Monday, July 10, 2017

He Wanted To Go Out As A Hero...And He Did

During my weekend editor shift, one of my reporters filed this story.

Not gonna lie, the jolt was huge.

Not because I've never read about tragedy...because I have.

Not because I don't love hero stories...because I do.

But because this was someone I had once seriously dated when he was a Joliet police officer and the news hit me in a profound way.

There are many reasons why people don't stay together, and this isn't the place to list them. Probably the biggest for us is because I was eighteen, and he was ready to get married and start a family, and I was not.

But I can tell you three things about this man.

One: He loved kids. And I'm happy to know he spent his life working with them.

Two: He was adventurous. Who spends their life fencing and teaching others to fence? He was also a scuba diver when I met him. Very cool stuff.

Three: He wanted to "go out" as a hero. That's why he became a U.S. Marine. That's why he became a Joliet police officer. And while some of the scenarios he spun about the way he hoped to be a hero sometimes brought an eye roll or two from me, the sincerity was undeniable.

So while I'm still having a hard time digesting the news, and although the way it happened was one scenario he never imagined, I can't deny he died the way he wanted to go. As a hero helping someone in need.

And, for this former U.S. Marine, on the Fourth of July no less.

Looks like God heard, and honored, the deepest wish of his heart.

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