While fighting along with the 501st Infantry Regiment in Vietnam, John Carr earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation medal. They represent some of the military awards accumulated during his service. He did that for his country.
Less than two years after he retired from the Army, Carr became a hospital caseworker for the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission. Thirty years later, Carr had helped countless veterans navigate the system of government benefits they were entitled to. He did that for his fellow service members.
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On Wednesday, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs did something for Carr, who was raised at Mooseheart. The recently retired superintendent of the veterans assistance commission was named Illinois Veteran of the Month for January in a ceremony attended by many of the same veterans he'd helped.
"I enjoyed being able to work with veterans one-on-one, and their spouses, in order to procure benefits they were rightfully entitled to," Carr said. "That's a big difference with veterans compared to other interest groups; they earned those benefits."
In bestowing the award on Carr, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Assistant Director Rodrigo Garcia said it was fitting that Carr would be honored so soon after the nation just finished honoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"What (King) stood for was service to his community," Garcia said. "We can see that John is a true testament of that service, that spirit of community, that legacy. His service never stopped. And it's this legacy of service that continues to distinguish the veteran community from others."
Indeed, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said "service" is the best word to summarize Carr's accomplishments.
Carr's recognition included a framed proclamation from Gov. Pat Quinn and a state flag.