Police department honors heroic officers

May 6, 2011 3:33:08 PM PDT
The Chicago Police Department paid tribute on Friday to officers who have distinguished themselves through heroic deeds in the line of duty over the last year.

It was a year ago this month that Tommy Wortham was shot to death in a robbery attempt outside his parents' Chatham home. Wortham was an Englewood district cop, and a Lieutenant in the Army National guard with two tours in Iraq.

For his Mom and Dad and sister, the pain of loss is fresh, but there are moments of strength and Friday was one of them.

At the police department's annual recognition ceremony, the Worthams accepted the departmet's Blue Star Award and Award of Valor on behalf of their son.

"It's good for us to know that in his death - as tragic as it was - people can see what a good man is and what a man who gives back and works hard is," said Sandra Wortham, sister.

The whole notion of giving back is at the heart of another award, new this year, that carries Tom Wortham IV's name and honors a Chicago police officer who serves in the military while he serves his community.

The inaugural recipient is officer Phil Flannagan, a 16-year veteran of the department and captain in the Army National Guard. Much of his adult life has been spent mentoring young kids. It is a mission, he says, that's part of his inner being.

"I love giving, and it's just a part of me and I can't help it. I will continue to give and serve the people of Chicago and the armed forces," said Officer Flannagan.

Flannagan met the Worthams for the first time and found they have much in common.

"That's a wonderful thing. He is serving this country as a military man and his city as a policeman and working in the community," said Tom Wortham III, father.

His folks say that Tom Wortham was more into carrying out the mission than being recognized for it, though he would endorse the spirit of the award that now carries his name.

"It would motivate other young people to do the same thing, to work in their community, and to find their passion and go for it," said Carolyn Wortham, mom.

At her son's funeral last year, Mrs. Wortham said,"it's OK to cry and grieve and be sad. But don't be angry, because anger saps your strength, and there's too much work to be done."

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