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BLIZZARD GAVE CADET CLASS
EARLY JUMP START ON CAREERS

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011 —A February blizzard that locked down the Cook County Jail due to a manpower shortage and power outage also pushed 31 new cadets into correctional officer duties far earlier than any of them anticipated – providing a moment of distinction and pride for those cadets set to graduate today, County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday.

Sheriff Dart will preside over graduation ceremonies set for 2 p.m. today at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Heights. Events will take place in Building M, just off the 111th Street entrance to the campus.

This ceremony also marks the third time in six months that a class has included a former Olympic athlete. Ginny (Georgantas) Posey was a member of the 2004 Greek Olympic softball team which played in Athens. She broke up a no-hitter against the U.S. team in those games after playing at South Florida. She joins Stacy (Liapis) Fuchsgruber, who started her law enforcement career by graduating in March and who was a member of the 1998 and 2002 U.S. Olympic curling teams, as well as Montell Griffin, a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic boxing team who graduated from the academy in December.

Members of today’s graduating class are also known for their charitable efforts, including Posey, who lives in the south suburbs, who once helped run a “Saturday Kids Klub” with the Housing Authority of Joliet. Additionally, Daniel Alvarado, of Chicago, was a decorated Marine who volunteered for the Special Olympics while based in Mississippi.

Geoffrey Leak, of Chicago, helped found a mentoring group, Pillars of Promise, five years ago, while Damien Spaulding, of Chicago, is a mentor at Bethel House of Prayer. Theodore Williams, of the south suburbs, received a citation for rescuing two children from a burning home in Chicago, while Sean Chambers, of Chicago, coordinates Thanksgiving dinner at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church and co-founded the Matt & Michael Chambers Memorial Foundation, raising money to support Misericordia Home.

Andrew Boynton, of Chicago, has taken mission trips to assist distressed families in Kentucky and Mississippi, while Terry Overton, of Chicago, has been a legal advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse. Alexander Muraski, of the south suburbs, helps provide food and shelter to the homeless through South Suburban Pads, while Dawn Pruente, of Chicago, started the school spirit shop and volunteered 16 years at Queen of Angels Catholic School.  Irene Salinas, of Chicago, raises money for charities through 10k and 15k races, while Rocio Rubalcava, of the south suburbs, is a longtime volunteer with Catholic Charities.

All of that giving spirit was on display just three months ago when a snowstorm immobilized Chicago-area residents, including those who work at the Cook County Jail. The cadet class was early in its training when the storm hit, but due to a desperate need for help, they were forced into immediate action and carried out the duties of those officers unable to make it to work at 26th-California.

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