Wendy Brough beamed smiles as her husband, Jon Brough, the retired Belleville police officer who was blinded 10 years ago by a shotgun blast fired by a double-murder suspect, was honored by the city Monday night.
“This was like a completed chapter,” Wendy Brough said after the ceremony. “Now Jon is healthy and strong. This part of his life is in the past. It was a sweet and wonderful way to get him to the next chapter.
“To me it was just a beautiful completion,” she said.
A standing room only crowd packed into the City Council meeting at Lindenwood University-Belleville to show their support for Brough. He was mobbed by family and friends after the ceremony called to mark the 10th anniversary the shooting.
Brough’s sense of humor spiked his comments when he thanked his family, friends, the city and the community for their help during the past 10 years. He praised “my beautiful, wonderful wife” for her help and standing by his side since he awoke in a hospital bed after the shooting. “I don’t know why, but she is still with me,” he said with a laugh.
The Broughs will celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary in December. Wendy Brough was a nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville on the day her husband was brought there after the shooting.
A large contingent of members of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club attended the ceremony to show their support for their colleague.
Brough thanked all police officers for “protecting our citizens from anything and everything.”
Mayor Mark Eckert read a proclamation in praise of Brough.
Brough, 58, was injured when he and other officers were attempting to enter a South First Street home to arrest Larry Sicka on Nov. 10, 2006. Sicka shot Brough in the face and hours later he later fatally shot himself in the bathroom of the home. On the previous day, Sicka had stabbed to death his former father- and mother-in-law in Swansea.
“Jon Brough is known for his unconditional love for his family, friendly and compassionate personality, strong character, sense of humor, exemplary service to others and for promoting the growth and vision of our community and the City of Belleville,” the proclamation states.
Eckert declared Nov. 10, 2016, as “Jon Brough Day” in Belleville in honor of Brough’s “bravery, his perseverance and his strength of character.”
After reading the proclamation, Eckert also gave Brough a laminated St. Michael prayer card donated by Jeanette Verges, the widow of former Belleville police officer Robert Verges, who died earlier this year at 85.
Eckert noted St. Michael is the patron saint of police officers and that Jeannette Verges said her husband always carried a St. Michael prayer card with him. She donated the cards because she wanted the city to offer the cards to current police officers.
In other business
The City Council took the following action:
▪ Approved a revised Code of Ordinances. American Legal Publishing Corp. revised, amended and restated the existing general ordinances. City Clerk Dallas Cook urged the council to delay a vote on the revision because it was a “waste” of $30,000. The revised code is expected to be online by Dec. 1.
▪ Authorized promotions in the fire department: Capt. Dave Zahn was promoted to battalion chief, Engineer Mark Bassler was promoted to captain, Firefighter Eric Wolfmeier was promoted to engineer and Eric Kuhl was hired as a probationary firefighter. These are effective Tuesday.
▪ Authorized promotions in the police department: Master Sgt. Rob Thomason was promoted to lieutenant and Detective Todd Keilbach was promoted to sergeant. These are effective Nov. 22.