Terry Dunn

Sergeant Terry Dunn's Career Load of Stories

Somebody the other day remarked to me that she was “not rich but blessed.” Some of us indeed are blessed with Irish blood and some doubly so with the “Seanchai” gene. Retired copper Terry Dunn is just such a man. 
Sergeant Terry Dunn has plenty of stories after 39 years and 9 months on the Chicago Police Department But he’s sneaky in the way he draws you in to his tales, talking slow with his unique laconic Chicago drawl, and the next thing you know the house is ablaze!

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Terry and I go back over twenty years when he first told me the story of “The Cupcake Kid." Second grader Annie Lundin choked on a cupcake at Our Lady of Victory school when it got lodged in her throat and they couldn’t get it out. She turned blue and the fire department was called to her school. But so was Terry - so he could tell the mother her daughter had died. That was his assignment that day, but God had other plans for the cupcake kid. 

Chicago Police Officer Terry Dunn

Chicago Police Officer Terry Dunn

Terry and I both agree about what happened to the Cupcake Kid twenty years ago. “It was a miracle!” 
He’s witnessed a few over the years.

On his first day on the job he was assigned to an older partner and they got coffee and “suddenly we got a call of a woman with a gun.”

Cops pull up in front of the building, and “my partner opens the door and he draws his gun as he is getting out and I’m like ‘This is for real.’”

Sgt. Dunn, summer in the city

Sgt. Dunn, summer in the city

They find the person who called it in and he turns out to be the woman’s husband. “And we start walking down the hallway, towards the apartment, the door is open, and all of a sudden, my partner, a pretty big guy, flips back, jumps back, and almost knocks me down. And we’re trying to blend into the wallpaper to get out of the way, because we can both clearly see the woman walking around, waving the gun, and she was totally intoxicated.”

“The trouble was the woman was surrounded by little toddlers. There must have been at least eight kids in the apartment, just wandering around.

“And my partner was trying to direct the husband to take the gun away from the woman. And he lit up the atmosphere by sayin’ 'Oh no, she’ll kill me!'

Terry Dunn receives Life Saving Award from Superintendent

Terry Dunn receives Life Saving Award from Superintendent

“At that instant, my partner reacted by bursting into the room, grabbing him and throwing him into his wife.”

“She fell and we were able to secure the weapon away from her. And while all this was going on, the wagon men were slowly taking kids one by one out through the kitchen. …I was kinda surprised by that, but that’s teamwork, knowing what your function is and what to do. So they were brought out of the apartment and then she was arrested.”

Terry tosses off a handful of death-defying tales of valor from his career.

He started in the seventies, “They would call us 'pigs.' We changed that to Pride, Integrity, Guts!”

Like that night working the midnight shift, they were called to a burning six-flat in Humboldt Park to guard the firetrucks in this very dicey neighborhood.

“We were outnumbered 10-1, and we drew our batons, and were in our “on-guard” position. And I get this periphery vision, and I turn, and there’s this huge fireman, he puts a baby in my hands! I look up and my partner has one, and I turn to the fire and there are like two or three other firemen running also with babies.”

Sgt. Terry Dunn

Sgt. Terry Dunn

Terry was still new to the job and saw his partner performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the baby,  “which sort of kick-started my brain and I started it ..I had my hand on the chest and I knew it wasn’t resuscitating, and I started giving it mouth-to-mouth and it started…it was probably one of the greatest moments of my life, the child was alive.” 

Back to the Cupcake Kid 20 years ago: firefighters used an emergency suction hose from their ambulance that day and little Annie revived to run and play again.

Terry had told me then, “There was like a burst of cheer went up, and the child came back from the edge, and there was nothin’ but joy and whatnot!”

I talked to her mom Jean the other day and she told me “Annie is now 27, living at home, working on her master’s degree.”

Not rich, but blessed.