Once again, the generous citizens of Lake County have responded to the needs of our at-risk veterans in Lake County.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security reports that Lake County has 1,600 unemployed veterans seeking employment and 3,500 have quit looking for work. This is the at-risk population serviced by the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County and the mission of our annual stand down.
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With the coat drive organized by Deputy Chief Jon Petrillo, Vernon Hills Police Department, we received over 500 coats from area high schools and police departments. In addition to clothing provided by Zengeler Cleaner and Burlington Coat Factory, we were able to provide clothing to 253 veterans and their families.
Veterans attending the stand down also received food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the COOL pantry. The stand down was a community effort with veterans receiving dental exams from Dr. Richard Moy and Dr. Martin Rowe, health care screening from Rosalind Franklin University, job assistance from IDES representative Ray Infante and legal assistance from Prairie State Legal. The College of Lake County participated with information on the veterans education grant and Consumer Credit Counseling.
The Lake County Sheriff's Department provided security, Lake McHenry Veterans Family Services and Computer Service Institute participated.
The event was a total community effort -- with the exception of the federal government shutdown, Veterans Affairs employees were not able to participate. However, our many volunteers from the American Legion and VFW Post and their auxiliaries continued the mission. Without their assistance, the event would not have happened.
A big thanks to the Waukegan High School JROTC Cadets, as they prepared the clothing rooms prior to the stand down. These future leaders came forward and provided much-needed assistance.
Michael P. Peck, Superintendent,
VAC of Lake County