Petty Officer 1st Class Lisabeth Ann Risley, U.S. Navy, retired, has been recognized by the Illinois Department of Veteran's Affairs as a prominent veteran leader with more than 30 years of service to her community, country and to fellow veterans as the Illinois Veteran of the Month for June 2013.
Risley, of Round Lake Beach, was recently honored at a ceremony attended by IDEA Director Erica Borggren. The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and make a real difference in the lives of others.
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"Petty Officer 1st Class Risley epitomizes the continued community service of our Illinois veterans," said Borggren.
"She's made significant, lasting and meaningful contributions to her fellow veterans and the community both in the Navy and as a veteran leader in Lake County. Her leadership and voice as a female veteran working on two key committees at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center are but two of many examples of her long-standing commitment to helping others and giving voice to the concerns of women veterans."
Risley joined the Navy in 1980 as a Hospital Corpsman to continue her family's tradition of Naval service. After more than four years of active duty stateside and in Guam, she transferred to the Navy Reserve.
In August 1990, she was recalled to active duty with the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. While on active duty she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer and subsequently was medically retired.
After leaving the service, and in spite of medical challenges, she continued to serve her fellow veterans. Risley was a veterans' representative to the Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission and manned the office there, taking calls, assisting veterans and answering questions regarding benefits and claims.
As an officer in the American Legion, she served as Post Chaplain and a Legion Rider, supporting veteran funerals, welcome home celebrations and other events.
Her decorations include the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, and the Marksman Pistol Ribbon. She was nominated for consideration by Michael P. Peck, VAC superintendent.
Peck said Risley has been serving as a volunteer with the VAC for the past four years and has been responsible for the submission of temporary assistance grants for families as the American Legion representative.
Peck said the office receives more than 3,000 calls a month, many of these are information on how to access the Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago. Risley, being a disabled vet, is very familiar with the operation at Lovell and provides callers with the needed information, he added.
With service dog Fargo, she is a familiar sight at Lovell and at the VAC office, and has been the consummate volunteer with the Legion, Fleet Reserve Association and Veterans Assistance Commission. She has received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award the past four years for donating more than 500 hours each year.