Heroes are not born but are ordinary men who are placed into situations that require extraordinary actions. A Willowick hero died last month. He was Sgt. George Duncan who retired from the Willowick Police Department in 1981 after a 27 year career. Although I never had the opportunity to work with George, we got... to know each other when he would come by to visit his police comrades, particularly his son Duane, who retired in 1999. George’s easygoing manner and smile were a trademark but as the years went by and other officers he worked with retired, his visits were less frequent.
At his wake, his accomplishments were on display, in particular a “Blue Coat” award given to him in 1976 by the Knights of Columbus. Although he was deserving of this award for many reasons, the one that he is most remembered for is an incident that occurred in the winter on Lake Erie near the old E 330 St beach area that is virtually gone now. A report came in of 3 male juveniles who had fallen into the water when ice broke up. Along with Ptl. John Germ (former Police Chief) and the other hero of this story, they walked through ankle deep slush, and were able to rescue 2 of the 3 boys. The 3rd boy was too far out and hit by ice and they lost sight of him. At one point, the 2 officers literally made a human chain out onto the fragile ice to effect the rescue. Yet George’s wife, Myra, said that as he came home soaked to the skin, he was bothered by one he couldn’t save.
As George Duncan was laid to rest last week, I know one fallen hero was welcomed home and told that his life was a job well done.