Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small

Copyright ©2010 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Thor Soderberg and Mazen Istanbouli were the cop and the prof.

Mr. Istanbouli, a professor of political science at DePaul University, is blind. He's also a tri-athlete who's been guided when he runs, swims and cycles by Thor Soderberg, another tri-athlete and a Chicago police officer.

Officer Soderberg was matched up with Professor Istanbouli through the C Different Foundation, a group that assists blind athletes. They became a team, sharing challenge, fatigue and exhilaration as they trained and competed in triathlons.

Swimming in the lake, riding bikes along the lakefront, running - we spent hours together, Mazen Istanbouli said. We talked about everything. The more I knew Thor, the more I realized what a great human being he was. He always said, I want you to get you a medal. He always thought of others before himself.

This week, Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Chicago police academy at 61st and Racine, where he was an instructor.

A 24-year-old man with a history of drugs, crime and mental derangement has been charged with his murder, and with shooting at a man that was sitting on his porch across the street, and the police officers who ran into the streets when they heard shots. The alleged assailant was wounded in the abdomen by officers and is recovering in a hospital.

Thor Soderberg was 43. His wife, Jennifer Loudon, is a social worker in the Chicago public schools. She's released a statement urging people who say they want to memorialize her husband to do so by doing something for others, like her husband.

If you have the opportunity to do something and change someone's life for the better, do it, she wrote. Start by taking care of every child.

It's been a week which might make you wonder about some of the lives that capture attention in the news. There's the young actress who sobbed in court because she hasn't shown up for her alcohol rehab classes, or the trio of athletes who already earn more money in just a few months than police officers, nurses or teachers will earn in their lifetimes, signing bigger new contracts.

Thor Soderberg seemed to have lived a truly artful, useful life. And we hear about him only when he's killed.

Most of the young recruits in Thor Soderberg's class will graduate from the academy next week. They'll receive their diplomas in their dress blues, then go out to patrol the streets which they know, more keenly than ever now, can be dangerous, mean and unpredictable. That's why they're needed out there. Thor Soderberg's death, and his graceful and generous life, has already taught them both the nicest and hardest lessons.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small
Support comes from: