June 29, 2016
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and County Commissioners today recognized 36 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 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 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.
“Participating in this program is one way 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.”
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.
“Taking time to honor and reflect upon the tremendous sacrifices our 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.”
Two of those who were honored today served in World War II, three in the Korean War, 23 served in Vietnam, two in the Persian Gulf, two in Iraq and four in Afghanistan. Twenty-two of today’s Silver Star Service Banner veterans served in the Army, two in the Navy, eight in the Marines, three in the Air Force and one in the Army Reserves.
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.