Chicago cops visit families of fallen officers for Operation Santa

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DES PLAINES, Ill. -- Chicago police officers answered a special call on Saturday as part of Operation Santa.

For the 11th year, police teamed up with the Police Memorial Foundation to honor some special officers and help families of fallen or seriously injured Chicago police officers during the holiday season.

“The holiday seasons can be rough especially for families who’ve lost loved ones or catastrophic injured. This is a way to give back,” Kevin Navarro, first deputy superintendent, said.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and a few elves stopped in Des Plaines Saturday morning for a visit with the family of Chicago Police Sergeant Alan Haymaker, who died in the line of duty seven years ago.

“It was a calling. It was a calling for him. It really touches our heart because we know he is not forgotten, Elaine Haymaker said.

“It just brings a bright spot in our Christmastime. Christmas is a time of hope and joy,” Amanda, Haymaker’s daughter, said.

Haymaker’s family was the first of 18 for the group this weekend.

Operation Santa said that in 2007 it has provided $9.1 million in assistance to families of fallen police heroes.

“One of things we’re here there for is to show the families of these police officers who have died or been catastrophically injured in the line of duty that we haven`t forgot them. And that’s the whole message today,” Phil Klein, Police Memorial Foundation, said.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson will join Operation Santa for their visits with family on Sunday.