As a handler in the Glendale Heights Police Department's canine unit, Don Darby was known to make frequent visits to schools for demonstrations with his trusted German shepherd, Lucky, always by his side.
"He was the type of person who would do anything for anybody," Detective Erik Potrafka said. "When you had a bad day, he would always try to put a smile on your face. The citizens he dealt with on a daily basis, he would always show compassion and the utmost professionalism toward."
Darby, a 14-year veteran of the police force who died in August after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, will be remembered Saturday when village police go head-to-head with firefighters from the Glenside Fire Protection District in the Don Darby Charity Basketball Game.
This is the second time the two departments have participated in the event, but this one hits close to home. All proceeds will go toward Darby's wife and two children, and cancer research.
Darby spent the past six years with the force as a canine officer. His passing at age 38 came a year after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer.
"Obviously, he was like family," Potrafka said. "Anything we can do to try to assist the family and try to help others is what we kind of strive for."
The charity game will be at noon Saturday at The Sports Hub, 250 Civic Center Plaza, in Glendale Heights.
In addition to the game, raffle tickets will be sold for prizes including a box for 10 people at a Chicago Blackhawks game, a box for 10 at a Chicago Wolves game, a $500 cash prize and several gift certificates.
Residents can purchase tickets at the police department, fire protection district, or on the day of the game, and need not be present to win raffles.
"We want to do as much as we can," Potrafka said. "We're going to be celebrating his life. He was a good guy."