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Evanston Officer’s Rescue Effort Earns National Award

Evanston Police Officer Sean O'Brien was running errands Tuesday when he spotted a small boy running around in the street in Des Plaines. When the boy jumped in the river, O'Brien jumped in after him and saved his life. (Credit: Sun-Times Media)

Evanston Police Officer Sean O’Brien was running errands Tuesday when he spotted a small boy running around in the street in Des Plaines. When the boy jumped in the river, O’Brien jumped in after him and saved his life. (Credit: Sun-Times Media)

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EVANSTON, Ill. (STMW) – Police officer Sean O’Brien, credited with the dramatic rescue of a boy from the frigid Des Plaines River last year, has been named Officer of the Month by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The not-for-profit organization – dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the country’s law enforcement officers – will honor O’Brien along with the other Officer of the Month Award winners for 2014 at a special awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., in May 2015, during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.

In a special ceremony last year, the Evanston City Council honored O’Brien for his heroism.

In the March 5, 2013 rescue., the off-duty officer jumped in the icy river after the boy who had gone in the water to retrieve a snowball.

Though he could not see the boy, O’Brien faintly noticed the orange Chicago Bears hat the boy was wearing, he said later, and reached underneath the surface to pull the boy from the frigid water.

“The temperature of the water was near freezing and the current could have swept the child away,” said Cmdr. Angela Hearts-Glass in her commendation of O’Brien’s efforts. “Officer O’Brien acted without concern for his own safety. It is without dispute that Officer O’Brien performed a true act of heroism and bravery.”

During his five-year tenure with the Evanston Police Department, Officer O’Brien has been recognized for his good work on other occasions.

In 2010, Officer O’Brien was awarded the Evanston Police Department’s Medal of Valor award for freeing a co-worker trapped in her burning vehicle after an automobile crash and stabilizing her until firefighters arrived.

He also received the department’s Officer of the Year Award, the City of Evanston’s Lifesaving and Valor Awards and the Hero Award, presented by Gov. Pat Quinn.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)