Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today recognized dozens of military veterans for their sacrifice and service to nation under the annual Silver Star Service Banner program. A total of 46 veterans were honored.
The veterans were saluted for their service in wartime during the County Board meeting and at a reception beforehand. To be eligible for the Silver Star Service Banner program, a veteran must have been wounded or become ill while serving in a war zone. The veterans honored today served in conflicts ranging from World War II to the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
Silver Star Service Banner is a national program run by the not-for-profit Silver Star Families of America. Cook County began participating in the Silver Star Service Banner program in 2008 at the urging of Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy (6th).
“It is an honor to acknowledge and show appreciation for the service of these veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation and our freedoms,” President Preckwinkle said. “I am grateful these veterans have come here today and for the work of our Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs in collaborating with many commissioners to continue our participation in the Silver Star Banner Service program.
Cook County Director of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Bill Browne worked with County Commissioners and veterans organizations throughout Cook County to identify veterans for this year’s Silver Star Service Banner program. Preckwinkle created the County’s first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs in 2013 as an outreach mechanism to County employees who are veterans, as well as veterans not affiliated with Cook County.
Since its inception, the DVA has signed up 110 County employee-veterans for its outreach program, which provides information and helps direct veterans to special programs and benefits based on their military service.
The County Board during its meeting approved a resolution honoring the Silver Star Service Banner vets, and all who were present were individually recognized during meeting. The veterans will also receive several items in commemoration of being selected.
Three of those honored today served in World War II, six in the Korean War, 27 served in Vietnam, six in Iraq and four in Afghanistan. Twenty-seven of today’s Silver Star Service Banner veterans served in the Army, four in the Navy, eleven in the Marines, three in the Air Force and one Air National Guard.
“I am proud we can carry on the tradition in Cook County,” Preckwinkle said. “Cook County is committed to supporting our veterans and recognizing the heroic nature of their service with such programs as the Silver Star Banner program.”