Fundraiser to aid family of Chicago cop killed in bike accident
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent April 9, 2014 5:56PM
A "ghost bike" memorializing Brian McDevitt is seen Wednesday at 135th Street and Ridgeland Avenue near Palos Heights, where McDevitt was fatally struck by a vehicle last year. A fundraiser to benefit his family is scheduled for Sunday at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. | Nick Swedberg~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 11, 2014 9:55AM
Brian McDevitt was the kind of guy who “would always be there for you,” his former partner and fellow Chicago Police Officer Bob White said.
Now his friends and supporters want to be there for McDevitt’s family, and to celebrate his life. He died last June 21, 10 days after a tragic bicycle accident at 135th Street and Ridgeland Avenue in Palos Heights.
“Remembering his Ride: Celebrating Brian” will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park.
McDevitt, 30, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, was a married father of two young children. Shortly before his death, he had received an Award of Valor from the Chicago Police Department for his role in a New Year’s Eve shooting.
“You can always trust that he was there for you,” White said. “It’s kind of comforting to know that the two guys that are in the car with me, I don’t have to watch my back because I know they would always be there for me. Brian would always be there for us guys.”
McDevitt also partnered with Tom Carey, a 19-year police department veteran, for five years in the Chicago Lawn District.
“He was like a brother to me,” Carey said. “He was a great cop and a better friend. Everybody got along with him.”
Carey and White said “every single penny” raised at the benefit will go directly to McDevitt’s wife Margaret and their children, Brian Jr., 3, and Molly, 2.
“His family was the most important thing to him,” White said. “It’s a tragedy, but we want to celebrate him. We know that Brian would have done the same thing for us.”
White and Carey, members of the fundraising committee, said silent auction items will include Blackhawks playoff tickets and a hockey stick signed by the team, a country music “megaticket,” Bulls tickets and a basketball signed by the team, and about 200 raffle baskets.
Carey said Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald donated for the raffle two tickets to a Northwestern game, signed memorabilia, a tailgate party and a “meet and greet” with him.
A special item up for raffle, Carey said, is a bike donated by Richard’s Bicycles which is a duplicate of McDevitt’s bike and has “Remembering his Ride” painted on the frame.
A white “ghost bike” with the same words is permanently displayed near the scene of McDevitt’s accident as both a memorial and a visible reminder to drivers to be aware of bicyclists and share the road. McDevitt was hit by a sport utility vehicle while crossing Ridgeland Avenue on a bike ride. No charges were filed against the driver.
Carey previously said McDevitt, ironically, had taken the day off from his often dangerous job to spend time with his family.
The family will be on everyone’s mind Sunday.
“Everybody’s been extremely generous when it came to helping us out for donors, and the people on the committee have just been working their behinds off,” White said. “We’ve been working this since July.”
About half a dozen people formed the main fundraiser committee, and 35 people will volunteer their time at the event, White said.
Disc jockey Bill Hozian, of Get Up and Go Entertainment; Larkin and Moran Brothers, an Irish band; and the Pipes & Drums of the Chicago Police Department will provide entertainment during the five-hour event, White said.
“The best part is that everybody is donating their time,” White said.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
For more information, contact Carey at (773) 715-9622, White at (773) 230-7454, Marty Robin at (708) 351-6531, Russ Willingham at (773) 320-4702, Jason Gutierrez at (773) 962-1304 or Ray Piwnicki at (773) 882-8278.