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,Cook 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.