President Preckwinkle and County Board Honor Military Veterans

June 10, 2015

As Part of Silver Star Service Banner Program

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioners today recognized 28 military veterans for their sacrifice and service to nation under the annual Silver Star Service Banner program.

The veterans were saluted for their service in wartime during the 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).

Participating in this program is a way we can 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.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to honor the brave men and women of the Armed Forces who have given so much for our Country, said Commissioner Murphy.

Bill Browne, Director of the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), worked with County Commissioners and veterans organizations throughout Cook County to identify recipients 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.

The DVA works with more than 100 Cook County employee-veterans and collaborates with veterans organizations in providing information for and helping direct veterans to 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 also received several commemorative items.

Taking time to honor and reflect upon the tremendous sacrifices our disabled veterans have made in the defense of this great nation, is one of the most important things we can do, said Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski (16th), chairman of the County's Board Veterans Committee.  Each level of government has an obligation to our veterans and I am proud of Cook County's commitment to support those who defended our freedom.

Three of those who were honored today served in World War II, two in the Korean War, nine served in Vietnam, 10 in Iraq and four in Afghanistan. Seventeen of today's Silver Star Service Banner veterans served in the Army, three in the Navy, four in the Marines, two in the Air Force and one each in the Air National Guard and the Reserves.

I am proud to carry on this tradition, 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 Service Banner.