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It's taken me almost a year and a half to write on this page. Craig was a coworker and a dear friend to me. This is a copy of my speech from the IL RT 9 road dedication in July 2016.
I’m Deputy Sheriff Rich Brock with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office.
I’m the liaison officer for the Whisenand family and I was one of Craig’s friends. I’m currently assigned to our Crime Prevention Unit.
I would like to thank everyone involved in the road dedication and from this past year for everything you have done from the night of the crash until now.
I first met Craig Whisenand in January of 2002 at the Tazewell County Jail, when Sheriff Huston hired me as a correctional officer. I worked with Craig for a few years in the jail until he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 2005. In 2007, I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff.
In 2009 I was assigned to 3rd shift patrol with Craig. Our shift was from 10 pm until 6am. We worked almost every weekend together. For several years we were each other’s back up approximately 70% of the time.
Craig was a family man who loved his wife, Steffany, his parents Vern and Phyllis, his sister Krista, his brother in law Steve, his nephews Joey and Justin, his Uncle Leon who was like a brother to him, his step daughter Sophie and especially his sons, Hunter and Carter, who meant the world to him. Craig encouraged Hunter and Carter to play all sports and to be the best they could be at whatever they did.
Craig rarely missed any of their games when they lived in Pekin, even when he had to work 3rd shift.
Outside of work Craig was a farmer and a gardener. He loved sports. He also liked doing construction and home remodeling. He could fix just about anything. If not, he knew where to get the answers. He was always willing to help a friend out.
On the job, Craig and I were on hundreds of calls together. Common calls were domestic violence; DUI crashes, fatal crashes, fights, alarms, large out of control underage drinking parties and many other types of calls. Some of those calls were tragedies, but we dealt with them professionally as we did all calls. We were on so many calls together we could pretty much read each other’s minds. Craig knew how I would react and I knew how he would react to certain situations.
Craig was a problem solver and he had a lot of patience on calls. Especially, when dealing with belligerent drunks. Many times, he had way more patients than I did. Many times we would meet to talk about calls we were on or about life. Sometimes we would meet just to keep each other awake on slow nights. We would meet at Dillon church, the highway department, the Cabin on Rt 9 and ironically, Dillon Cemetery, where he is now buried.
The main thing I want everyone to know is, as a friend, Craig was a down to earth guy, who had a huge heart, was unbiased, nonjudgmental, easy going and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. To say we miss him would be a huge understatement!
I know that Craig would be very appreciative of all of the attention he has gotten over the past year. Knowing him like I did, I also know he might have been a little shy about all of this.
Illinois Route 9 is one of the roads that all Deputies travel on daily while on duty. As this section of RT 9 is renamed after Craig, let it be a constant reminder to us that he paid the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Tazewell County.
Thank You and God Bless America!!
Tazewell Deputy Sheriff Rich Brock
Coworker and friend
November 29, 2016