Officer's widow honors husband with fund for kids

September 16, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Loudon established a foundation in her husband's name that will allow children to connect with nature. She says keeping busy helps her to deal with her loss.

Since the death of her husband, the trained social worker has put her efforts into taking Thor Soderberg's commitment to making the lives of children in need better to the next level. She sat down with ABC7 to talk about her new foundation, her connection to the Englewood community, and life without her husband.

"My husband was my best friend and it's hard to get up everyday and it's hard to imagine how you're going to make something good happen," said Louden.

But from her grief and sadness she honors the memory of her husband in a special way -- with a memorial fund to help kids.

"This foundation is my attempt to make something good come out of what is otherwise a horrible daily reality for me," said Louden.

It began on July 7 as the 11-year police department veteran finished work. The 43-year- old was shot when a man grabbed his gun and killed him as he left a South Side CPD training facility.

Soderberg's widow didn't share her thoughts about 24-year-old Bryant Brewer, the convicted felon who was arrested for crime, but instead how others can be helped because of the tragedy.

"My hope is that his spirit and his hope for children would live on through this foundation," said Louden.

The newly established Thor Soderberg Fund will connect youth with nature. Louden says what started as an idea during a couple's get-a-way to Michigan has become her husband's dying wish. The attack happened a few days later.

"He said, 'if I had the money, I would really want to send kids to summer camp so they could get out of the city and they could experience a really different world," said Louden.

The children will come from various communities including the very Englewood neighborhood that claimed her husband's life, something the slain officer's wife says Thor would want.

"I have been back to the community in the last few months and people have been so supportive and welcoming and inviting," said Louden. "I think it's what he would have expected under these circumstances and I hope he would be proud."

Jennifer Loudon and Officer Soderberg had no children of their own and had already adopted the community, but were planning on becoming foster parents in the next couple of years. Not only has she been working at getting the foundation up and running, but also with the governor's taskforce on violence prevention. She adds she has good and bad days. Right now just trying to get pass October 1, which would have been the couples sixth wedding anniversary.

The foundation already has $20,000 in it.

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