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Why We Provide Wills for Heroes…

By September 12, 2012No Comments

As serendipity would have it, my colleague, Stephen Hoffman,  has recently posted a piece I wrote for him, leaving me with empty space, if I so choose, to fill with something a little different and something a little personal and I so choose:

Congratulations to my “brother,” Kevin Bell, who retired today, with a full pension, from his position as a Detective for the Chicago Police Department.

When Kevin received his first opportunity to request a patrol assignment, more than 20 years ago, he requested a patrol in the roughest, most gang-infested neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. He knew that the African-American community needed to see and understand that all police weren’t against them, but were sincerely patrolling to protect them.

Kevin was shot at point blank range during that first assignment and survived because of his vest. He subsequently returned to the same assignment, undeterred.

Chicago Police - Thank You Detective Kevin Bell (Ret.)

Photo: Keith Syvinski, Franklin, IN

When we were out together for an evening of fun with friends and family, whatever side of the city we were on, if there was a disturbance, a person having difficulty, Kevin was there and helping out because he understood that, as a police officer for the City of Chicago, he was never really “off duty.” He was passed up for detective often; some say it was because of his ethnicity. Nevertheless, he stayed the course, undercover or in open blues, and was finally awarded his detective shield.

Kevin has protected our streets – north and south, east and west – for decades. I pray that there is another officer, just as dedicated, moving up in the CPD ranks. But even if there is, I can’t be as proud of him as I am today. An African-American man, with a private Catholic school background and a bachelor’s degree from a well-respected university, who consciously and intentionally decided to protect our streets, our homes, and our communities as his career instead of doing something more lucrative and safe, is a man who deserves, at the very least, a word of thanks from us all. Thank you, Detective Kevin Bell (Ret.), my cousin, my brother, my hero.

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