A 55 year old member of the Chicago Police Department received a hero’s send off on May 14th as more than 450 yeshiva students lined up to wish him well on his last day on the job.
A 30 year veteran of the force, Sergeant Mark George visited more than 50 area schools over the past two years in his capacity as school sergeant.
Having heard of his upcoming retirement several weeks ago, the administration at Yeshiva Tiferes Tzvi invited Sergeant George to the school today for what he was told was a last official visit as a member of the Chicago Police Department.
As he approached the school just before 11 AM, Sergeant George was asked to wait for just one moment before entering the property.
“The next thing I knew there was a procession with a Hatzalah ambulance and squad cars,” Sergeant George said. “They led us into the parking lot and there were over 400 kids there all lined up.”
Surrounded by boys of all ages waving American flags and holding signs saying “Chicago hero Sergeant Mark George,” “Once a cop, always a cop, thanks” and “We will miss you,” the long time police officer was moved to tears as he thanked the yeshiva for its expression of gratitude.
School principal Rabbi Nosson Muller presented Sergeant George with an award from both Yeshiva Tiferes Tzvi and its sister school, the Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov, voicing his heartfelt appreciation to Sergeant George and the Chicago Police Department for their public service.
Students responded enthusiastically to Sergeant George, reaching out to shake his hand as he passed by amid cheers of “Mark, Mark, Mark!”
“I told my wife that I felt like Lou Gehrig in The Pride of the Yankees,” said Sergeant George. “I do a lot of presentations in the schools and have done workshops at the police academy. It was an emotional day and to have a send off like that really got to me.”
Having visited dozens of schools in Chicago in his official role with the police department, Sergeant George noted that he has seen something special when he goes to a yeshiva.
“The Jewish community is just a phenomenal community,” said Sergeant George. “The discipline, the respect, the gratitude, the kindness…you just don’t find that anymore.”
With anti- Semitic violence on the rise, Sergeant George said that the Chicago Police Department has been on high alert and that he had taken it upon himself to visit area yeshivos more frequently than in the past in order to ensure a higher level of safety.
“The Jewish community is just incredible and I embraced them the way they embraced me,” said Sergeant George. “People should be learning from the Jewish community. I just don’t understand how anyone could be anti-Semitic. I just don’t.”