Fellow Cops Take Fallen Hero’s Girls To Daddy Daughter Dance Because Sometimes The World Is A Great Place

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I’m a total sucker for a sad story with a happy ending, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Police officer Patrick O’Rourke was killed in the line of duty back in 2012, leaving his three daughters, 11-year-old Eileen, 9-year-old Mary and 6-year-old Andrea without a father.

Times has passed, and now, almost two years later, much of the pain has passed, but the girls were set to miss a serious right of passage; their school’s daddy daughter dance. So their dad’s fellow officers stepped in and escorted the girls in his stead. Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye…

In addition to Officers Joe Miller and Derek Case, who were both on the scene the day O’Rourke was killed, Officer Art Smith and the girl’s mom, Amy O’Rourke volunteered to attend the event and act at chaperones. Amy didn’t know the officers before the day her husband died, but she certainly considers them family now: According to the Detroit Free Press:

“We cry together. We laugh together. We try to heal. It’s all very raw. It’s all still very emotional. I told them they could take whoever they want.”

Patrick O’Rourke was only 39 when he was killed. He was one of five officers who responded to that fateful call, and died after being shot by a bulled that went through a bedroom door and into his neck. He was a 12 year veteran of the force and had married his high school sweetheart. Now I KNOW I have something in my eye.

 

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    • MellyG
    • chickadee

      I think I may be the only person who thinks father-daughter dances are a little weird.

      • brebay

        I think lots of us do, but this is still a nice story.

      • chickadee

        I am glad that she considers them family, and I suspect they are there for the girls for more reasons than a dance whose premise creeps me out.

        There was a father-daughter dance when I was 12, and my father looked mildly horrified at the prospect and said, “I do not date my daughters,” and that was the end of it.

      • brebay

        love it!

      • Ddaisy

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I’m really close to my dad, but I was super weirded out when I had to dance with him at my high school grad for the official “parent dance.”

        People always talk about how touching the “bride and her father” dance is at a wedding, but if I ever get married, it’s gonna be, like… the macarena or something. I’m all for having fun with my dad, but we ain’t slow-dancing.

      • Ddaisy

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I’m really close to my dad, but I was super weirded out when I had to dance with him at my high school grad for the official “parent dance.”

        People always talk about how touching the “bride and her father” dance is at a wedding, but if I ever get married, it’s gonna be, like… the macarena or something. I’m all for having fun with my dad, but we ain’t slow-dancing.

      • chickadee

        We skipped the father-daughter dance altogether at my first wedding, and he died before my second wedding. This might be where I say that now I wish we’d had that moment back, but actually he disliked being in the spotlight and we had a lot of great conversations that I can remember him by.

      • Ddaisy

        That sounds lovely (not that your dad is dead, of course, but the rest of it). I’m sorry for your loss, but thank you for sharing that. Your dad sounds a lot like mine and it’s good to know I’m not alone in feeling this way. My dad is still alive and well, and hopefully will be for a long time, but when his time comes, it’ll definitely be our walks and talks that I’ll remember him by, and not any awkward attempts at dancing together.

      • chickadee

        He died over 11 years ago, which sounds really bizarre because it certainly doesn’t feel that long….but yeah. He was a great one to sit and talk over beer or wine for hours, and even though we didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, we had a lot of excellent chats.

      • guest

        My father was the same way, he was horrified at the prospect of being in the spotlight. We didn’t do father-daughter dance at my reception but he did end up dancing with my Grandma (his mom) who had been widowed for 20+ years during it which was actually pretty sweet.

      • chickadee

        Aw! That is a much better alternative.

      • Crusty Socks

        Oh you should see how awkward Father-Son dances get…

        0_o

      • Reba

        No it’s still weird.

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    • Bunny Lucia

      Nothing quite hurts like the father daughter dance when you don’t have a dad.

      I remember staring at the flier and some well-meaning teacher asked me if I was going to go. I can’t remember if I started crying or not but to this day the I remember the pain of realizing you don’t have a father and you’re somehow fundamentally different from the rest of the girls that get to go.

      I am so glad those officers stood up to the plate and let these girls attend their dance. Thank you for sharung tyis story, Frances! It’s a darling one.

      • brebay

        Same thing happened to me, my dad was dead by then (and, to be fair, a schmuck in life who wouldn’t have attended anyway) but my teacher told me not to worry, I could come and help serve refreshments. So not only did I not have a dad, but now I got a front row seat to watch girls who did AND, as an added bonus, I got to be their servant…*facepalm*

      • Bunny Lucia

        Wow, I’d rather not go at all. That sounds downright awful.

      • brebay

        Yeah, I didn’t end up going, my mom was like “fuck her.” We went to Dairy Queen instead.

      • chickadee

        You probably had much more fun at the DQ than those girls were having at the dance.

      • LG

        My dad was disabled and in a wheelchair for most of his life. When I was 8 my Girl Scout leader told me I couldn’t get the Daddy Daughter Dance patch if we skipped the dance, and she thought it would be a “great lesson” in tolerance for the other girls if we attended.

        Umm, no. It’s not my job to be a real life Saved By the Bell episode and teach adorable life lessons. Like Brebay we ended up skipping and went to Sonic for hot fudge sundaes instead.

    • AP

      Any activity where participation is contingent on you having a particular type of relative to escort you is insensitive. It’s insensitive to the kid, because some might be upset that they don’t have a particular kind of relative (they miss their daddy or grandma); it’s insensitive to the parent who wishes their kid had a “normal family”, and it’s insensitive to the invited relative if they can’t come (Timmy’s going to feel abandoned because Grandma isn’t going to fly 3,000 miles for his Grandparent’s Day tea; Janie is going to feel abandoned because Daddy is on call at the hospital that night and can’t switch.)

      I’m not saying we should eliminate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day crafts or sales, because those are important to the kids who want to make or give something to their mom on their own. But a little sensitivity goes a long way with things like these.

      • ChickenKira

        “Grandmother’s tea” at school was a hard one for me, my Nanna was overseas and my Grandmother has paranoid schizophrenia and pyromania, so she wasn’t coming along for a morning tea at a school. I got to help serve the cakes to everyone who sat with their Grandmothers.

        Now, by the time my younger brother got to the year where they do Grandmother’s tea, they changed it to “Special person’s tea” the description being a grandparent, a special elderly friend or relative. Of course lots of people complained, but my next door neighbour who used to babysit us when we were little went along, and my brother sat with her and ate cake and wasn’t embarrassed like I was.

        He wasn’t teased for a week afterwards either.

      • personal

        Our kindergarten has a father/child camp-out, but the papers suggest ‘Dads, grandfathers, uncles, godfathers, or any other friend of the family who would like to do the honor’ so it felt all right.
        Of course, my daughter was nervous and reluctant to go. When DH brought her home at 7 pm I was a bit skeptical until I checked her temp and discovered she had a raging fever.
        (Bless her. She’s always that kid. She came directly from the hospital to the summer fest after both eyes inexplicably swelled shut and staggered around a bit with her head tilted back trying to not miss anything. I can’t imagine what could happen at a father-daughter dance.)

      • Snarktopus

        I had never heard of a “Grandmother’s tea” before today. Learn something new. :)

    • Shelly Lloyd

      For every one who is saying that these father/daughter type events, I am curious, is it the the wording “father/daughter” that you consider insensitive or is it the implication of having to have a male role model? I am asking because in my Girl Scout service unit we try to have a “He and Me” type event. It is suppose to be model on the “father/daughter” type event but we understand that not every girl will have father in their lives so we use the generic “He and Me” and say the girls can bring any older male role model they want: older brother, grandpa, uncle, friend of the family. Or if they really have no real male in their life they can come with a female relative.
      Do you think this is being a bit insensitive?

      • chickadee

        The only thing I object to is an event that is fashioned on the ‘date’ model where he father plays the role of his daughter’s partner. I also object to any gender of parent referring to an outing with his or her child as a date, because a date is usually between two people who are romantically or sexually interested in one another.

        How large is your troop? Can you determine beforehand whether all of the members have father figures, or if any of your scouts have lesbian parents? Then you could avoid an awkward situation. Otherwise, were I you, I would call it ‘He and I,’ since the other is grammatically incorrect.

      • brebay

        what’s wrong with just a family event, why the focus on gender?

      • chickadee

        Well, I’m fine with that, too.

      • Shelly Lloyd

        It isn’t just my troop. As service unit manger, I am the admin for 38 troops. We have done family events in the past and will continue to do them in the future. But many girls have requested a father/daughter type event. We want to do one while being sensitive to all the girls in our service unit. As for “He and I” I do not think that would go over well. The girls like how “He and me” rhymes.

      • brebay

        What’s wrong with just a family event? Why the focus on gender?

      • Shelly Lloyd

        We’ve have family events, but the girls have requested a father/daughter type event. We want to make it as inclusive as possible while being sensitive to the many different family make ups as possible.

    • guest

      I also hate the father/daughter dance premise as it gives me the heebie jeebies but this is still very sweet. I’ve seen various stories of cops/firefighters doing this for fallen ones with kindergarten graduations and whatnot too and it is just really nice to see. I may have something in my eye.

    • Reba

      I’m pregnant and this article tore me up – so sweet.