SHERIFF TO RETIRE STAR OF SOLDIER KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN
Monday, November 9, 2009— Four months after he was killed in Afghanistan, Cook County Sheriff’s Officer Derwin Williams will be honored with a star retirement ceremony today at the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp, where he worked as a drill instructor.
The star retirement ceremony begins at noon today at the boot camp, 2801 S. Rockwell St. Williams’ family, including his widow Felicia, will be in attendance.
Williams, a 1st Lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard, and three others were killed on July 6, when a roadside bomb exploded as they drove past it. This was his second deployment to Afghanistan and he was scheduled to return in August.
Williams, 41, joined the National Guard in 1993 and was hired at the sheriff’s department in 2006. A father of five, he thrived as a boot camp drill instructor.
The boot camp is an alternative sentencing program providing non-violent offenders an 18-week military-style experience, followed by eight months of post-release supervision, including drug and alcohol counseling, along with educational and vocational training. Hundreds of men ages 17 to 35 participate in the boot camp every year, instead of serving a sentence with the Illinois Department of Corrections.
“Derwin Williams represents all that we would hope for in an employee at the Cook County Sheriff’s Department,” Sheriff Tom Dart said. “He brought a selfless spirit to both of his jobs and joy to those he worked with. This ceremony honors his legacy by ensuring that the Cook County Sheriff’s star # 32 will never be worn again.”
In addition to the retirement of his star, a garden at the boot camp will also be dedicated in memory of Williams. Veteran’s Memorial Garden is located on the boot camp grounds and through a partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, boot camp participants learn gardening skills to take with them to the workplace.