Highland Park Unites To Support Illinois State Trooper Who Was Killed in January

By Ross Forman

The Highland Park community comes together on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Centennial Ice Arena, anchored around the Giants’ varsity hockey team with a heart that extends throughout the state.

The Giants will be fundraising to support the wife and children of late Illinois State Trooper and Army veteran Chris Lambert.

Lambert was driving home to Highland Park this past January at the end of his shift, in a snowstorm, when he stopped on the Illinois Tollway to assist an accident that had just taken place. While comforting the families involved, he was fatally struck by a reckless driver who, despite Scott’s Law, did not slow down and move over when he saw officers on the side of the road.

Lambert is survived by his wife, Halley, and their two young daughters.

The hockey club started a GoFundMe page to support the Lambert family – and 100 percent of funds raised will go to the Lambert family.

“This event is really special because Chris Lambert was a member of our community and his wife and two kids live in our community, so spreading awareness for this horrible tragedy is very important,” said Sam Shachtman, 17, an HP senior in his third season on the school’s varsity hockey team. “All (of) the momentum and expectations for the event have far exceeded my original thought of what this event was going to be.

“The reason we are holding this event is, Halley Lambert has not only lost her husband, but also his salary. The money that we are raising will hopefully make a big difference in her life.

“I am very excited about the event because we have been meeting and doing work for it since before the summer (started). We still have a lot to do, but I can start to see everyone’s hard-work pay off as the event gets closer.”

The fundraiser on Sept. 28 off-ice games, food and more. Entertainment will be provided by Energy Productions and there will be a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers.

U.S. Representative Brad Schneider, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and other local officials will attend, to support the Lambert family and promote awareness of Scott’s Law.

To the Highland Park players, this story is very personal, organizers said. “One of the families involved in the accident was a youth hockey family in town for the same local hockey tournament HP was playing in. We all (can) relate, as we have been taking hockey road trips since we were in elementary school, plus, we all saw the accident and the aftermath first-hand on our way to and from one of our tournament games.”

“Our goal is to make sure as many people from our school come out to the event,” Shachtman said. “We want to see all of our friends supporting this fantastic cause.

“Chris was a resident of the Highland Park community. He ate at our restaurants, went to our stores, and his kids will be attending our schools. Helping others makes me feel good, but more importantly, it makes them feel good. (We know) how much it means to Halley and her family.

“My involvement in this event was a no-brainer because it means so much to people who are going through a hard time. The team is very excited to help, have a fun event and make a difference in our community. It is also an important team-bonding experience where we are all working toward one goal.”

Jack Elbaum, 17, a senior in his fourth season on the HP varsity, added: “This event is a great opportunity to help a family that went through a horrible tragedy as well as spread awareness about Scott’s Law. This fundraiser is a great (way) for the Highland Park hockey team, as well as the Highland Park community as a whole, to come out and support law enforcement. They far too often do a thankless job, and if we can help spread awareness for Scott’s Law in order to ensure people are more conscientious about how they drive, then we will feel as though we have done something important.”

Elbaum added: “We want to bring the entire community together to support the safety of our police and if our team can help with that then we will be overjoyed. Additionally, we are aiming to raise as much money as possible for the family that had to go through this terrible tragedy. From this event, I hope our team can gain a new appreciation for the incredible job that law enforcement does every day. Their job often goes without appreciation, but to see the true sacrifices that law enforcement officers and their families endure is something that everyone can admire.”

** Donations can be made at: www.gofundme.com/f/h8y7kg-a-cause-i-care-about-needs-help.

Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.

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