Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioners today recognized 40 military veterans for their sacrifice and service to nation under the annual Silver Star Service Banner program.
President Preckwinkle created the County’s first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs in 2013. Among its tasks is to continue the tradition begun in 2008 of honoring Silver Star veterans at a Cook County Board meeting.
The veterans were saluted for their service in wartime during the Board meeting and at a reception. 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 served in conflicts ranging from World War I to the Persian Gulf. Silver Star Service Banner is a national program run by the not-for-profit Silver Star Families of America.
“I am grateful these veterans have come here today. We must acknowledge and show appreciation for the service of these veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation and our freedoms,” President Preckwinkle said. “Thank you to the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs and to the many commissioners that work to honor veterans in the Silver Star Banner Service program.”
The County Board during its meeting approved a resolution honoring the Silver Star Service Banner veterans, and all who were present were individually recognized during meeting. The veterans also received several commemorative items.
“As Chairman of the County’s Board Veterans Committee, it is important to take time after Memorial Day to reflect and honor the men and women who have put their lives on the line in defense of our freedoms,” said Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski (16th District). “Every American owes an immense debt of gratitude to our soldiers and their loved ones for their sacrifice.”
Two veterans honored served in World War I and World War II and they were represented by relatives. One veteran served in the Korean War, 29 served in Vietnam, one in the Persian Gulf, and seven in the war on terrorism. Twenty-nine of today’s Silver Star Service Banner veterans served in the Army, two in the Navy, four in the Marines, three in the Air Force, one in the Army Reserve and one in the Illinois National Guard.
Bill Browne, Director of the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), worked with County Commissioners and veterans organizations throughout Cook County to identify the recipients for this year’s Silver Star Service Banner program.
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.