When Billy Lind was a student at Alleman High in Rock Island, he already knew he wanted to become a police officer.
Now, the 2007 Alleman grad – a sergeant with the East Moline Police Department – is undergoing major surgery today in Peoria to replace a skull flap. Lind is recovering from serious head injuries he suffered on Monday, Oct. 24 after being brutally attacked on the job by an arson suspect.
On Friday, Nov. 11, Alleman students and faculty paid tribute to him by raising $886 on a Spirit Wear Day, adding to the $2,300+ from Seton Catholic School in Moline, to help with Lind’s ongoing medical expenses. Jordan Catholic in Rock Island will collect donations Monday, Nov. 14.
A flyer sent to Alleman families noted today was an AHS Spirit Wear Day, seeking donations for Lind, which noted “our families are always so generous and supportive of special causes like this! We pray for Officer Lind’s recovery.”
“He has always wanted to be a police officer,” Alleman counselor Lynn VanDeHeede (who’s been with the Catholic school 20 years) said Friday. “That was something that was a passion of his. When he figured that out, he was so driven by it. He found his niche to help people.
“He was always a very kind person, hard-working, meek, and obviously very humble,” she said. “He felt that was a way to serve.”
Many Alleman students have that mission of service instilled in them, that they’re used to giving and seeking careers of service, VanDeHeede said.
The school has many alumni or parents of current students who are police officers or in the military, she said.
“It’s really important that our students understand the importance of respect,” VanDeHeede said. “They really honor and appreciate those who are going out of their way.”
“Sometimes that inspires them to go on to a field where they will be respected,” she said.
Student council head has connections
Senior Emma Sottos of Milan is president of Alleman’s Student Council. Her father and grandfather were Moline police officers (her dad Michael, a lieutenant in the juvenile division, died in 2006), and she is applying to the West Point Military Academy.
“He passed when I was one year old, so just hearing about his legacy, I want to incorporate that into my life,” said Emma, who has been in student council she was a freshman. “That’s why I try to take leadership positions like in school, so I can affect people like he affected me.”
Sgt. Lind was quiet but “he was so genuine, I mean, endeared by all,” VanDeHeede said. “When you talked to him, you enjoyed the conversation. He was giving you everything he had.”
When they heard of his attack, she was heartbroken.
“We had a student council meeting shortly thereafter, and I explained to them he was a young man here,” VanDeHeede said, noting they prayed for him then. They got nearly all students to sign a big get-well card for Lind, and took photos of students making heart shapes and will give them to him.
Another recent Spirit Day fundraiser was to help victims of Hurricane Ian. On those Fridays, students can wear school spirit tops, with jeans or athletic pants.
“It’s normally someone in our community who needs our help,” Emma said.
“A character, a great kid”
“He was a really nice kid. He was very skinny in high school. He was a character, a great kid, a lot of fun,” Andrea Thompson, an English teacher, recalled of Lind. “He liked to crack jokes, things like that.”
“I remember his personality, being really charismatic,” she said. “He was a fun kind to have in class. It didn’t surprise me when he became an officer. I know many of our boys are in Moline, East Moline and Rock Island.”
Having Lind as a graduate made a difference in the amount that students donated, Thompson said.
“I told the students, I had him in my class; he sat over here and I described him to them,” she said. “Anytime you can make something more personal, I think that helps. Anyone who may have known Billy from back then would say the same thing I did.”
“Alleman is a warm, family-friendly type environment,” longtime religion and history teacher Don Adams said. “Alleman has always reached out, not only to our own graduates, but graduates of other schools to help out.”
“I think the kids are generally empathetic and respect our service members and our officers,” Thompson said. “I think they understand it happened in the line of duty. That makes it all the more important to support it.”
Other upcoming fundraisers
- Saturday, Nov. 12th: Eastern Iowa Baking Company (300 N. 2nd Street, Eldridge) will be holding a fundraiser to help William Lind. They will sell thin blue line cookies along with the normal array of baked goods. 50% of the baked-good sales will be delivered directly to the family of Sgt. Lind. The business will also have availability for donations set up either through cash donation or Venmo with the EMPD FOP fund.
- Tuesday, Nov. 15th: Bad Boyz expresses “our deepest sympathy for Sgt. Lind so we`re doing our part in what we can to help. We back our community & the people that protect it,” the pizza restaurant said. On Nov. 15, it will donate 20% of sales for the day to him & his family from both Bad Boyz locations (Moline and Davenport). This includes dine-in, carry-out, delivery & gift cards. The Bad Boyz owner will be making a large donation at end of evening, and they will also be accepting additional donations to give back as well.
- Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022: A Charity Euchre Night for Lind will be held at Green Tree Brewery, LeClaire. “Every day, the brave men and women of our police forces put their lives on the line to keep us safe and attempt to bring peace to our cities,” said Green Tree. “Let’s show our gratitude and as a community gather together to help support Sgt. Lind and his family as they fight to get through this horrible tragedy.” They will have tons of raffle items up for grabs that night, with a $10 buy-in per player. Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and for the biggest loser.
Adrian Rogers, 52, of East Moline was charged with attempted murder, a Class X-Category A felony, and aggravated battery, a Class 2 felony – Category 2 for the Oct. 24 incident in the 1900 block of Morton Drive in East Moline. Sgt. Lind sustained serious and life-threatening injuries in the incident.
Rogers was also charged with aggravated arson, a Class X – Category A felony and residential arson, a Class 1 – Category A felony for a fire reported at a residence in the 1600 block of 12th Street in Rock Island knowing it was occupied at the time.
Rogers is being held in the Rock Island County Jail on $1 million bond (10% applies).