©2010 Chicago Tribune/Alex Garcia
A door from the patrol car driven by Chicago Police Officer Alan Haymaker rests on the side of Lake Shore Drive after his vehicle slammed into the side of a tree. Haymaker did not survive the crash, which occurred while he was enroute to a burglary. The exact cause of the crash is being investigated, but icy weather contributed to it. The Tribune had a full story about him on its breaking news website. After photographing the accident, I accompanied the reporter who interviewed the officer’s pastor at his northwest side church. The picture of Haymaker that emerged from that interview and others was both humbling and inspiring – of someone who served the needs of those around him, as an officer, friend, neighbor, and father – at sometimes great risk, but always as a reflection of his Christian faith. I had just been talking with my wife about how much our society is owed by people who live and serve others in quiet, unassuming ways. This morning I heard one such description and it gave me pause. That seemed to be Haymaker’s mission and heart.