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Friends Petition for Park in Tinley to Be Named after Fallen Native

Michael J. Sutter loved the Tinley Park Park District—and should be honored with a park in his name, family says.

The 2003 death of a 28-year-old man still resonates through the community—one where he lived and played. 

Staff Sgt. Michael J. Sutter died while fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and friends want to honor his memory with his name emblazoned on a park in his beloved hometown.

An online petition asks for support in naming a park after Sutter. He was an active participant in park district activities, specifically Judo classes taught by his father John at The Tinley Park- Park District. The Andrew High School alum was an award-winning athlete known for his dedication and spirit, friends said. His parents John and Judy were devoted supporters, who carted the Judo team in their van.

"I can't think of a more suitable tribute to honor and remember Mike then by having a TP, Park dedicated and named after our fallen solider," the petition reads.

"Imagine, how proud Mike's brothers and sister could feel bringing his nieces and nephews to the Michael J Sutter Park."

Sutter enlisted in the Army in 1994, serving for eight years before deciding to join the National Guard.

Sutter died Dec. 26, 2003, while trying to manually defuse a bomb. 

"Many cities and towns all across American show tribute to their hometown Heroes by dedicating parks in their honor," the petition reads. 

"It is well overdue that Tinley Park substantiates to Mike's parents that their son's sacrifice, and the sacrifice their family has made, will never be forgotten by their community."

Park District officials have encouraged the supporters to continue their petition efforts, and present the results at a July 2 board meeting. 

The board will take into consideration any petition brought to their attention, but the ability to name a park has a few variables tied to it, one of which is the availability of a park that hasn't already been named after someone.

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, the petition has 515 signatures.

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