By Joseph Carroll ‘19

On Sunday, Feb. 24, the community gathered at St. John Fisher Parish to enjoy breakfast, support a great cause and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting others.

The 5th annual Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast, hosted by 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea, is an event that collects money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Get Behind the Vest Program.

Through this foundation, officers are able to receive replacement bulletproof vests at no charge. While officers receive a vest when they are hired, they do not last forever and need to be replaced every five years. On top of supporting this cause, attendees are able to receive an all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, sausages, juice and coffee.

Although this is an annual breakfast, this year held a special place in people’s hearts. After losing three police officers in 2018 -Samuel Jimenez, Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary- this event was not only a time of gratitude and togetherness, but a time of mourning and remembrance.

The Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast is also a great way for politicians to show their support for the Chicago Police Department and its officers. Politicians who came to this breakfast included Mayor Rahm Emanuel, mayoral candidates Jerry Joyce, Bill Daley and Gery Chico, Congressman Dan Lipinski, State Representative Fran Hurley, State Senator Bill Cunningham, Alderman Matt O’Shea, as well as radio and television personality Roe Conn.

My mom, who joined me at the breakfast, is thankful to be able to help police officers who risk their lives for the safety of the community. “I like being able to help protect those who protect us,” she said.

The Get Behind the Vest Pancake Breakfast has become a community tradition since its start in 2015, and it will continue to help make sure our officers do not have to worry about affording equipment necessary for their safety. Special condolences to the families of Officer Jimenez, Marmolejo, and Gary, who were all heroes of the highest order.