Carol Stream police wore mourning bands around their badges this week to honor officers who lost their lives this year in the line of duty.
National Police Week is usually a somber time to reflect on the sacrifices and risks of the job. But Carol Stream officers also got an "incredible lift" when they were treated to catered meals -- lunch and dinner -- Monday through Friday.
Jennifer Rawls, a Carol Stream business owner who lives in town, organized the gesture because she simply wanted to "do something nice" for the men and women who protect residents. She arranged for Augustino's Rock and Roll Deli, RoccoVino's Italian Restaurant, Jewel, Wingstop and Rosati's Pizza to donate the food.
The 38-year-old mom also started a campaign, called "Light Up Our Town," to encourage residents to replace their porch lights with blue bulbs in support of police. About 1,125 bulbs have been purchased from Lowe's, which offered a discounted price, Rawls said.
That includes bulbs sold through a fundraiser that collected $940 for police foundations in Carol Stream Elementary District 93.
"Jennifer Rawls has been tremendous in her effort to do this, and she asked for nothing in return," Deputy Police Chief Jeff Degnan said. "She just is doing it out of respect for law enforcement."
On Wednesday, Rawls helped unpack a spread of food from Rosati's Pizza that covered two tables at the temporary village hall off North Avenue. Police earlier this month moved out of their headquarters at the Gary Avenue municipal complex ahead of a major reconstruction.
Kathleen McNamara, a social worker for the department for 20 years, would have normally packed a cold salad for lunch, but had her choice of hot beef sandwiches, fried chicken, garlic bread and pasta.
"It just seems to me that it's such an affirmation that the community supports the police and the work that they do," McNamara said. "Quite frankly, it's just an incredible lift."