Letter to the Editor: Always earned. Never given.

Dear Illinois police and fire chiefs,

Just recently I attended the wake of a friend, Donnie Stephens II, who proudly served the Rosemont community as its police director. Rest in peace.

What I was not ready for was the amount of personal police issued awards for valor and service being worn by the attending officers; some with six to eight ribbons. One officer wore three rows of police-issued ribbons.

I was not aware of all the crime within the community these days in order to help earn these same awards. I didn’t know of all the structure fires fought that have taken place, as well, while earning these same awards.

Yours truly served on both sides, to include the police patrol division and the fire suppression division. Yet, I was honored by earning three department accommodations the hard way. I also served as a U.S. Marine sergeant to include two tours overseas. Yet, earned three rows of U.S. military awards.

Some of these same officers, as seen at both the wakes for former [Rosemont] Mayor Donald E. Stephens and now his son, strike a familiar chord. What is going on here within my former community’s police department?

Yet, I am told that if you ask some of the upper command officers what their toughest felony arrest was, they can’t respond.

In closing, there is a saying in the Marine Corps, “Always earned. Never given.”


Gene Spanos



Leave a Reply