Army medals presented to killed officer's family

CHICAGO Michael P. Gordon was 30 when he died four years ago next month. He had young children who never really got the chance to know their dad. For the Gordons, a law enforcement family, acquiring Mike's military service ribbons and medals was very important -- and, as it turned out, not easily achieved.

Gordon, as a kid, wanted to serve in the military -- which he did. And he wanted to be a cop, which he was. Four years ago, Chicago Policeman Michael Gordon died when a drunk driver ran a red light and broadsided his squad car. Mike was a husband and father of four, including a daughter who -- at the time -- was six months old. For their grandchildren, Mike's parents sought the military commendations that their son was due for his service with the 82nd Airborne in Bosnia and Korea.

"We want something of his life. We have some videos and things like that, but how hard is it to try and say who you're father was?" said Carol Gordon, mother.

In the quest for their son's medals, the Gordon's learned a bit about red tape, and military recordkeeping.

"They couldn't find the DD2-14. I mailed it to them. Not good enough. They had to have an original. I sent them a death certificate and this went on and on. And then my wife said, you're supposed to write your senator," said Bob Gordon, father.

"At one point they even denied to us there were any records, and we stuck with it," said Senator Dick Durbin.

With the senator's office involved, the records were found, and the medals and ribbons came -- 15 of them -- acknowledging commendation and conduct. They were presented Thursday at the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park where the name Michael P. Gordon is among the many officers who have died in the line of duty. That, and the medals, will help some children know a father.

"We're not trying to be out there for anything other than the fact that we want Mike's memory alive and to do some things that reflect the kind of life he had," said

The Gordon family helped work for a change in the law after Michael's death. If someone is driving drunk and they have no license or insurance, it is a felony today. It used to be a misdemeanor.

The Gordons have also set up a memorial foundation in their son's name to help other law enforcement families in need.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.