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Emily Beazley-Inspired Police Car Finished Just Ahead of Fundraiser

By Howard Ludwig | September 16, 2015 3:45pm
 A patrol car inspired by the late Emily Beazley will be on display from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday at a fundraiser at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Mount Greenwood.
Emily Beazley Patrol Car
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — Emily Beazley inspired many people as she bravely fought non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including Michael Tarczan of downstate Blue Mound, Ill.

Tarczan refurbished a former police car in honor the 12-year-old girl who died May 18 after a four-year battle with blood cancer.

"I'm honored to do it," said Tarczan, who works as the head investigator for the Macon County Public Defender's Office in Decatur.

The custom car will be one of the many attractions at the Emily Beazley's Kures for Kids fundraiser from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Mount Greenwood.

The free event at 3857 W. 111th St. will also include food vendors, carnival games, inflatable bounce houses and more. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support pediatric cancer research.

Tarczan met the Beazley family on Sept. 7, 2014. He arranged for a police escort for the family, as Emily's final wishes included a visit to the Illinois Police Officers Memorial and the Illinois Firefighters Memorial both in Springfield.

Howard Ludwig says Tarczan hopes Emily's legacy lives on:

A member of the Illinois Antique Emergency Vehicle Association, Tarczan also filled the parking lot of the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield with classic cop cars ahead of Emily's arrival. A pipe and drum band awaited as the little girl entered the DoubleTree-branded hotel.

"When Emily passed, I decided I wanted to take it to the next level," Tarczan said Wednesday.

He purchased a used police car from the Waverly Police Department for $800. The 1999 Ford Crown Victoria was sold at a discount when Tarczan revealed his intentions. Others pitched in as well, including an auto parts store and a body shop in Taylorville and a graphics shop in Decatur.

The end result is a custom vehicle rich with detail. For example, the patrol car's vehicle number is 2002 — the year Emily was born. The beat tag is 911E, as Emily's birthday is Sept. 11. And a purple and green ribbon on the hood of the car proclaims, "Emily Strong."

"People ask me how come I did it. My answer is, 'Why not,'" said Tarczan, a native of Portage Park.

The Emily patrol car will be blessed by by Fr. Dan Brandt, director of the Chicago Police Chaplains Ministry, at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Chicago Police Department's Morgan Park station at 1900 W. Monterey Ave.

Phil Cline, the executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and former police superintendent, will also be there to send the car westbound on 111th Street in Morgan Park. The custom vehicle will arrive at the kick-off of the kids fair, Tarczan said.

"I might be on the other end of the crime scene tape now with the public defender's office, but I still bleed blue," he said.

Tarczan also knows first hand the heartbreak of losing a child. His son, Tony, died suddenly 11 years ago on Dec. 19. He was just four months old.

He has since had three more children — Dominick, 8, Joseph, 6, and Emily, 5. However, he said could feel Tony's spirit working through him as he refurbished the purple-and-green patrol car.

"It's like my son is still with me," he said.

Tarczan vowed to bring the custom car to Chicago whenever it's needed, offering to drive the vehicle to special children's birthday parties, to pick up someone from the hospital or participate in parades.

Though, he is a bit worried about people taking photos of the car as he drives it into town.

"As soon as I cross I-80, I hope I don't cause any wrecks," he said.

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