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North Aurora officer honored for saving man from jumping onto I-88

North AurorPolice Officer Mark Shillair was honored for saving life man who was threatening jump off an overpass onInterstate 88.

North Aurora Police Officer Mark Shillair was honored for saving the life of a man who was threatening to jump off an overpass onto Interstate 88.

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Updated: January 6, 2013 9:54AM

NORTH AURORA — While thousands of people were enjoying the North Aurora Days festival last summer, Police Office Mark Shillair was saving a life.

Shillair, a 7-year veteran of the North Aurora force, was honored by the Village Board this week for saving a man who was threatening to jump off an overpass onto Interstate 88.

On Aug. 4, Shillair and a fellow officer responded to a domestic disturbance call at Randall Road and Ice Cream Drive, where a woman reported that her upset 32-year-old son had left her car and walked away on Randall.

Leaving the other officer with the woman, Shillair drove north along Randall until he spotted the man walking on the bridge over I-88.

When the man saw Shillair, he said, “You’d better get your camera out, because I’m going to jump off the bridge,” Police Chief David Summer said at Monday evening’s award presentation.

And then the man climbed on top of the bridge wall.

At that point Shillair parked his car to block the right lane, jumped out and ran to the man, who Summer said is much taller than Shillair and nearly twice his weight. Shillair pulled the man off the bridge and back onto the road, where he kept him subdued until backup arrived.

“It was a hard fall for him, but he wasn’t hurt,” Shillair said. “Aurora paramedics took him to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. I don’t know how that turned out, but I did see him riding a bicycle around town a month ago, so I think he’s all right.”

Both Summer and Village President Dale Berman praised Shillair’s courage and quick action, as they presented him with the village’s lifesaving award.

“In order to prevent a person from causing harm to himself, he put his life in jeopardy. I’m extremely proud of Officer Shillair,” Summer said.

Shillair, 33, said he only did what needed doing at the time.

“I think anyone in my situation, whether a police officer or not, would have done the same thing,” he said. “It’s not part of human nature to watch someone do something like that without trying to stop him.”

Shillair’s wife, Cindy, said she knew nothing about her husband’s lifesaving effort until some of his fellow police officers ran into her and her two young sons at North Aurora Days that evening.

“First, Sgt. (Joseph) DeLeo came up to us and said, ‘Did you hear what Mark did today?,” Cindy Shillair recalled. “... Then other officers started toward us, and every guy said, ‘Your husband’s a hero.’”

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