Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Salute To An Authentic American Hero

Here at katfish…ponders the focus of this blog is the criminal justice system. Much attention has been paid to those who break the laws and what happens when they reach the courtroom. For me trials are a study of human behavior. You get the best and the worst of people. Some people are truthful and some are liars. Everyone has an agenda, whether it is the pursuit of justice, trying to dodge a conviction for bad behavior, or ensuring the defendant receives a fair trial. How the arguments for these agendas are woven around the constitution in an effort to achieve their goals is most interesting to me.

There are a couple of subjects that I haven’t really opened the door to here, my personal life and the men and women who are out there risking their lives to enforce the laws of our land and protect the public. I would like to crack the door open a bit to my personal life in order to introduce to you a man who I have admired all of my life and consider my personal authentic American hero.

Captain Clinton D. Spurlock of the Illinois State Police

This hero is Clinton D. Spurlock also known as “Captain Clinton D. Spurlock“, “Clinton“, “Clint“, “Duane“, “C.D.”, “Spur” and for me he will always just be “Uncle Duane“.

While saluting my uncle, I hope this post will also shine the spotlight on all of the men and women of The Illinois State Police, as well as the other branches of law enforcement who serve to protect us.

Clinton served 30 years with the Illinois State Police (ISP) before retiring as Captain of District 20 in Pittsfield, IL. District 20 serves five counties, Adams, Brown, Pike, Schuyler and Scott. Clinton Spurlock also held the position of Chief of the Personnel Bureau during his years with the ISP.

When I decided to write this entry, I looked up the definition of hero. There are a lot of definitions and most of them fits Clinton Spurlock like a comfy pair of house slippers:

hero - someone who fights for a cause -champion, fighter ,defender, guardian, protector  -  a person who cares for persons or property.

I think most of the men and women who wear a shield while enforcing the laws to protect us and promote public safety improve the quality of our lives to the extent they deserve to be considered our heroes. Don’t you? Where would we be without them?

hero - someone distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility, strength and fortitude - leader - a person who rules or guides or inspires others.

This definition of a hero also fits my Uncle Duane very well, not only because of his chosen profession and the many State Troopers that he inspired as an instructor at the Illinois State Police Academy, but his strength of character made me feel very safe growing up and without a doubt he “inspired” me to behave (at least in his presence, LOL).

After ”retirement” Clint worked as chief of police in Griggsville, IL for a few years. As of the 2000 census, there were 1,258 people, 500 households, and 360 families residing in the city. Griggsville is located between the Mississippi River and the Illinois River which provided a perfect backdrop for “Spur” to enjoy nature and spend many good times with friends and family hunting and fishing. He also took advantage of the rich black soil that blesses the Midwest to grow wonderful gardens, flowers and plant trees.

hero - a person who is idealized for possessing superior qualities in any field

This final definition of a hero embodies Clint’s spirit in the whole of his life as much as the warm and fuzzy lining does those comfy house slippers I referenced above. He achieved great success in his career, but there is so much more to this man, he was of the Christian faith and past master of the Good Hope Masonic Lodge. He graduated from Bushnell High School and attended Western Illinois University, Missouri University, and is a graduate of the prestigious Northwestern University Traffic Institute in Evanston. He was a Boy Scout leader in Good Hope when his boys were growing up. Clinton is also well known for his artistic talent including the Bushnell mascot "Sparky" and his many years of restoring antiques.

Sadly, my uncle passed away on March 31, 2010 after an extended illness. He will be missed but remembered, oh so fondly, by his wife of 56 years, Mary, his 2 sons Mike and Jim and daughter Brenda and their families, his sisters and extended family and his large circle of friends. The respect shown by the Illinois State Police color guard during the visitation, funeral at the church and graveside service was awesome and just drove the point home that this man laid to rest was an Authentic American Hero. Sphere: Related Content


  1. A wonderful tribute, Kathy. He will be missed.

  2. Thanks Sharon! The world is a better place because he was here...

  3. Your usual excellent job! It is so wonderful for a kid to have a relative who really sets the example of fighting the good fight and living the good life. Any hero is great for a kid but knowing their relative is all about living life the way we should all aspire to live - means that good is in the kid too.

    My son has my brother (and my dad) who he wanted to be like when he grew up - even tho my bro was not around everyday - my son knew he was out there and never wanted to let him down.

    This is a lovely tribute to a fine man - who undoubtedly earned your praise on a daily basis. Rest well Captain Clinton D. Spurlock.

  4. Thanks for the kind words LCM. :)
    I didn't see my uncle on a daily basis growing up, they lived further South, but I have always respected and admired him.
    At his visitation, his daughter and I were talking that he would have been a great judge. He wasn't a judgmental type of guy, he wasn't quick to anger, but you didn't want to disappoint him because he was so fair and even keeled.