D. Court Harris, Afghanistan War veteran and son of state Rep. David Harris, is making his first foray into local politics, becoming one of the youngest residents to be appointed to a board or commission in Arlington Heights.
Harris, 28, was appointed to the village's Fire and Police Commission on Monday night. The appointment was Village President Tom Hayes' first since taking office in May.
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Harris is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and served two tours in Afghanistan, retiring recently with the rank of captain. During his last tour, he sent back an American flag that flew on the front lines to be presented to village officials. The flag was framed and now hangs in village hall.
"The institutions of the military and police and fire departments are similar in their structure, hierarchy and discipline so I think it's a good transition from the military," Harris said. "I have the experience of being in an organization where serving and protecting is important."
While in high school Harris was a member of the village's youth commission.
"We are very happy and fortunate that he wants to serve our village," Hayes said. "He provides us with a nice opportunity to infuse some young blood into the process."
There are another 10 to 12 vacancies on the village's various commissions that Hayes said he is looking to fill within the next month.
The Fire and Police Commission is the only commission that does not report to the village board.
"I can't wait for you to start serving the village as well as you've served our country for so long," Trustee Joe Farwell told Harris. "I know you were raised in a family where service was part of being brought up."
Rep. David Harris, a Republican from Arlington Heights, was in the state legislature from 1983 to 1993 and again elected in 2010. The elder Harris also served in the military for 33 years, retiring in 2003 with the rank of major general.