Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving thanks to the cop who didn't shoot

Kevin Lavin, Executive Director of Guildhaus in Blue Island; above him is a photo of founder Jack King.

     Everyone has a Thanksgiving tradition: the kindergarten crayon hand outline turkey decorations, the touch football game in a nearby field. Me, I made my famous challah stuffing, a big warm pan of savory comfort. It was a hit, as always.
     And Kevin Lavin called the cops, as he has every Thanksgiving Day for the past 13 years.
     Not just any cops; one particular Alsip police officer named . . . well, I can't say, for reasons that will become clear.
Guildhaus is next door to the Maple Tree Inn,
a popular Blue Island bar
  Lavin is the executive director of Guildhaus, a Blue Island residential treatment center for recovering alcoholics and addicts — or, lately, make that for recovering addicts and alcoholics, as the heroin epidemic has flipped the recovery world around.
     "Things have changed," says Lavin, sitting in his office at Guildhaus, in the shadow of Western Avenue, across from the Cal-Sag Channel. "From 1987 to 1995, there were alcoholics, for the most part, a little cocaine. From '95 to 2002 it was crack cocaine. Insane. A few alcoholics here and there. Now my demographic is heroin addicts: 80 percent. You know where they're from? Everywhere. Not the picture you think: 22 to 28, from well-to-do families, good families."

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Members of the Guildhaus have their own coffee mugs.


  1. What an inspiring story. A reminder that there is always hope, even in the bleakest of times.


  2. Good thing for that helpful cop.


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