South Superheroes: from firefighters to cops

Crusin' Cavender: Riding his motorcycle, Officer Cavender’s duties as a motorcycle cop include patrolling public events, like Fourth of July parades. Photo courtesy of Josh Cavender

Crusin' Cavender: Riding his motorcycle, Officer Cavender’s duties as a motorcycle cop include patrolling public events, like Fourth of July parades. Photo courtesy of Josh Cavender

Tess Ledden, Hailey Cho, and Madeline Hussey

Students at South have parents in a variety of professions. Some have parents who are doctors; others are realtors. A few might be psychiatrists, receptionists, or even stay-at-home parents. But for several South students, their parents have more unique and dangerous jobs, since they work in law enforcement.

Senior Josh Cavender’s father is a former police officer for Park Ridge. The stories that his father came home with always interested him, Cavender said. However, Cavender has also shared some special memories with his father throughout his career as a police officer as well.

“My favorite was when he was in the Fourth of July parade and he came riding down the parade route on his police motorcycle and stopped and said ‘hi’ to us during the parade,” Cavender says. “It was a really cool moment for me, especially when I was little.”

Despite the stress and difficulties that his father faced, Cavender believes that his father’s job impacted him and his own personal values for the better.

“I value justice,” Cavender said. “Doing the right thing is a lot higher on my list of priorities than I think it would be if my dad wasn’t a police officer.”

Senior Teagan Quill also has family in law enforcement. Her brother, Colin Quill, a South alumnus, is in the Navy as the Master at Arms. His job is similar to a police officer’s, Quill explained. Colin is based in Japan and is in charge of the security on his base.

“It makes me definitely appreciate the military a lot more because [knowing] what he goes through and having him away definitely makes me appreciate that more than I ever would’ve before,” Quill said. “I definitely have an appreciation for people who do those jobs.”   

In addition, Quill’s father is a firefighter. Growing up, Quill said she was able to visit the station and experience what her father’s job was like. Quill’s father will often answer paramedic calls, which are calls made by people who need to be escorted to a hospital. When he and his team are not on calls, they train back at the fire station.

“I think [their jobs are] cool because they’re different,” she explained. “It sucks, obviously, because my brother is overseas so I don’t see him a lot [and] my dad works every two days for twenty-four hours. It’s not like a normal job that a lot of [kids’] parents do.”

Kelly Dorn, PE teacher and girls’ volleyball coach, explained how the danger her husband, a Chicago police officer, experiences daily plays a role in her family’s perspective. Dorn has three children who look up to her husband and are keen on following in their father’s footsteps, Dorn shared.

“My kids are young and they always say, ‘I want to be the police, I want to be the police,’ and they can’t spell yet,” Dorn said. “My husband says, ‘It’s nice that they look up to me, but I don’t want them to be in constant danger.’”

Dorn said that the danger her husband is put in provides her and her family with a different outlook on life. Even though Dorn’s husband has been transferred to a safer job than he had previously, she expressed that the public isn’t always predictable and anything can happen. Dorn says she is confident that her husband’s job changes her worldview; however, she is unsure if it is for better or worse.

“I think you appreciate everyday situations even more,” Dorn said. “He goes to work every day, and every day he has a gun and the bad guys have guns too. Bad things could happen at any point in time. It makes me appreciate him and the family time together a little bit more.”