Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioners recognized 17 military veterans this week 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. 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 II to Afghanistan.
The Silver Star Service Banner is a national program run by the nonprofit Silver Star Families of America. Cook County began participating in the Silver Star Service Banner program in 2008.
“Participation in this program is a wonderful way to honor the service of these veterans who have sacrificed so much to help preserve our freedoms,” President Preckwinkle said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to honor these veterans 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.”
The County Board 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.
“Each year, we recognize and express our deepest gratitude to a small group of veterans who have made a tremendous sacrifice for our freedom and our nation,” said Commissioner Jeffrey R. Tobolski (16th), chairman of the County Board’s Veterans Committee. “I am proud of Cook County's commitment to support those who defended our freedom.”
One of those honored served in World War II, 9 served in Vietnam, four in Iraq, two in the Gulf War and one Afghanistan. Twelve Silver Star Service Banner veterans served in the Army, three in the Marines, one in the Navy and one in the Army Reserve National Guard.
Bill Browne, director of the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs, worked with County Commissioners and veterans’ organizations throughout Cook County to identify the recipients for this year’s Silver Star Service Banner program.
President Preckwinkle created the County’s first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs in 2013. The department works with more than 100 Cook County employee-veterans and collaborates with veterans’ organizations to provide information for and help direct veterans to programs and benefits based on their military service.