Community offers mounting support to grieving family of Commander Bauer

Family, friends and even total strangers who have been touched by the loss of a beloved Chicago police commander are preparing to say goodbye.

Commander Paul Bauer will be laid to rest this weekend. The visitation is Friday.

The stage is set to send off a hero. The Nativity of Our Lord church in Bridgeport is where fallen commander Paul Bauer was a regular every Sunday.

"Just doing a little bit of bedazzle and decoring up a little bit, getting the church ready for everyone that comes here,” said Melanie Tado.

Tado went to this church with Bauer. She says all of Bridgeport is in mourning.

"This community is pretty much a tight-knit community,” she said. "We not only think of him as a policeman, a commander, we think of him as a father, a brother, a husband. So there's many things we feel emotionally tied to that.”

Others in the neighborhood say they too will go to the funeral even though they didn't know Commander Bauer.

"Real hard thing for this neighborhood to take in, especially for the Chicago police officers and everything. It's really hard to lose somebody, especially somebody so respectable to this neighborhood. Somebody that was just trying to help everybody out,” said Bridgeport resident Mike Larkin.

Earlier in the day, volunteers wrapped ribbons showing support throughout the entire neighborhood.

At Bauer's District 18, a memorial of balloons, flowers and candles has been set up. Inside is a memorial book signed by strangers showing support.

In Bauer’s neighborhood, streets were cleaned, clearing the way for his procession.

On Thursday, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation gave Bauer’s widow a $60,000 check to pay for the funeral, and the 100 Club pledged to pay their 13-year-old daughter Graces' college tuition.

"This was really a great man and a wonderful family. Good guy. Good husband and a great police officer,” said Joe Ahern.

There will be street closures starting Friday all around 37th and Halsted. Free parking will be available at Sox park.

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