In Loving Memory of
Lt. Thomas (Tommy) Wortham!
May, 28, 2010
Thomas Wortham was a Chicago Police Officer. He was also a soldier who served two tours in Iraq. A week before his death, he traveled to a special memorial for fallen officers. And he was also a community organizer who was working hard to keep his neighborhood a safe place for families and kids, while rooting out some bad elements who had started to seep into their neighborhood parks at night.
This was a very good man who believed in serving others...and cared about others. As his sister explained at his funeral, a few years ago when guys attempted to carjack him by hitting his car on purpose, Tommy didn't get out of his car enraged, but grabbed his medic gear and ran to the other car to see if he could help THEM...the same people who were trying to hurt him!
In May, 2010, he went to his dad's house, a retired Police Sgt, to show him the new motorcycle he got as a welcome home gift after his military service. As he was leaving his parent's home, four men confronted him in an attempt to swipe his motorcycle from him. These monsters had been at a bar, had been drinking and DECIDED it would be FUN to try to rob someone!
Hearing the trouble out front, his dad grabbed his gun and shot one offender dead, wounded another. The third turned himself in a couple days later and the fourth was arrested during a traffic stop.
Thomas Wortham...soldier serving his country.
Thomas Wortham...a police officer serving his community.
Police officers lined up for Tommy's wake.
Hundreds of police and troopers, from all over the country, show up to pay their respects as his funeral. More than the church can hold...they stood outside in the sun during the ceremony.
His mother speaks. She reminds the mourners that it's okay to cry, it's okay to grieve. But don't get angry because that zapped your energy and there is too much they all need to do to make this world and their neighborhoods safe again!
His girlfriend...the love of his life.
After the morning services, the Patriot Guard Riders had been invited by the family and were requested to line the entryway to the cemetery as mourners arrived. We gathered at a parking lot nearby and then moved on to the cemetery grounds.
Riders assemble at the staging point.
Tricia and her son.
Preparing to depart the staging area for the cemetery.
Riders lining up behind me.
We arrive at the cemetery and pass out the flags.
Standing in anticipation.
A close look back...you can see the entire pathway to his grave is marked with flags.
A huge flag hangs from a firetruck ladder.
The schedule is a bit off due to the fact that SO MANY police, soldiers, bikers and mourners have come to pay their respects. The procession is several miles long.
A firefighter heads up the ladder to hang another flag at the start of the honor guard line.
Police block the street.
The start of the procession finally makes it to the cemetery.
It was an amazing show of respect!
First miles of police motorcycles, police cars and SUVs, followed by Illinois State Troopers on bikes, then in cars, then Military members in cars and SUVs, then police representative cars from every suburb in the Chicagoland area and others as far away as Kenosha, WI, Lake County, IN...and even a classic 50s police car from Detroit, then the funeral cars and family, then some of his biker friends on motorcycles, then miles and miles of friends and other relatives mourning his loss. Vehicle after vehicle streamed by. So many of them giving a solemn wave and/or mouthing THANK YOU to us for being there.
It was our HONOR!
(Since we were to stand in his honor, I only took a few, brief photos during the very long procession of cars.)
After the procession enters the cemetery for the final service, PGR race to leave so our bikes don't make noise that might disturb the service inside. As quietly as possible...we all soon depart.
Firefighters and Guard members help fold the very large flag that had been hanging from the firetruck ladder.
As I ride away for my 40 mile ride home...one last shot of his service inside the cemetery.
Rest in Peace, Lt Wortham. The world has lost much when we lost you!
See more photos from this PGR Mission, here: http://pgr.pxxq.com/chatham.htm and http://pgr.pxxq.com/chatham2.htm
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