‘You are my heroes’

  • Written by Kelly White


Tearful mother drives more than three hours to thank Hickory Hills policemen

Marcie Ordway travelled more than three Page-1-2-col-policeHickory Hills police personnel Rocco Marciano, Mark Benaitis, Scott Sodaro and Charles Hobart await receiving Medal of Honor awards from Marcie Ordway and Chief Alan Vodicka. Photo by Hickory Hills Police Department.hours from Galesburg to Hickory Hills just to thank four policemen from the city.


Ordway and her two-year-old daughter, Cosette, came to last Thursday’s city council meeting grateful that telecommunicator Rocco Marciano and police personnel Charles Hobart, Mark Benaitis and Scott Sodaro had major roles in the lifesaving responses they took to search, find and rescue Cosette after she was given an overdose of medication in a West Des Moines, Iowa, hotel room in January.
Marcie was reduced to tears when she said, “[Cosette] would not be standing and playing here today if it weren’t for you. Thank you. You are my heroes.”
The four policemen were on hand to receive presentations for their roles but were unaware the appreciative mother and daughter would be in the council chambers.
“I could see the shock on their face when they saw Marcie walk up with Cosette,” Hickory Hills Police Chief Alan Vodicka said, “Knowing they had no idea they would be here tonight really meant something to them, and Marcie felt very strongly about being here for them.”
On Jan. 18, the Hickory Hills Police Department was informed that Cosette’s father, Byron Ordway and Cosette were missing from his temporary residence in Hickory Hills. A relative told police he had recently attempted suicide.
Byron and Cosette were entered in the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System as missing persons. For a few days, there was concern over the little girl’s well-being.
Through a coordinated effort between Hobart, Benaitis and Marciano making a contact ping through Byron’s phone, West Des Moines Police were contacted and conducted a well-being check on Byron and his daughter at a hotel. The West Des Moines Police indicated they had made contact with both Byron and Cosette and appeared to be fine.
At the time, both Byron and Cosette were removed from LEADS as being reported missing and this incident was considered closed, police said.
But two days later, the relative told Sodaro that she received additional information from Byron via email the night before in which he sounded suicidal. Both subjects were again entered into LEADS as missing and endangered. Marciano requested another ping from AT&T of Byron’s phone to determine their current location.
This information revealed he was still at the same location in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Hickory Hills police said they put in another request to the West Des Moines Police Department to check on the pair.
Byron and Cosette were found in the same hotel room as previously, police said. But according to a Sergeant from the West Des Moines Police Department, Byron was found deceased due to an overdose of medication and Cosette was unresponsive but breathing.
Police said Byron intended to take his daughter’s life through the same means. Cosette was taken to Blank Children’s Hospital in West Des Moines, where she was placed on a ventilator and she was suffering from seizures.
Marcie traveled to West Des Moines to be with her daughter and was fearful of the possibility her daughter would die but Cosette pulled through and was healthy enough to make the trip Thursday with her mother during the emotional meeting with the Hickory Hills police.
The four policemen earned medals of honor presented by the chief, Marcie and Cosette.
Each officer received a form of a department commendation and a ribbon to be worn on their uniform.
“Had it not been for the coordinated efforts of these officers, I don’t think I would be making [a] statement as to Cosette’s recovery today,” Vodicka said. “As chief of police, I am extremely proud of these members of our department and I praise their life saving efforts.”
Hobart was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant later on during the council meeting by Vodika. Hobart was hired on to the Hickory Hills Police Department in 1994 and promoted to Sergeant on Feb. 1, 2006. During his 19-plus years with the department, he has served in the capacity of field training officer, firearms instructor, tactical officer, juvenile officer, detective, supervisor of the Department of the Special Response Team, supervisor of the Motorcycle Unit and coordinator of the Field Training Officer Program.
“It’s his dedication in the department, and events like Cosette’s that prove he more than deserves this promotion,” Vodika said.
Officers Joe Roscetti and Michael Franks were also promoted.