Naperville man dedicated to helping fellow veterans
If there's an activity or event organized by Naperville American Legion Post 43, chances are good that Wayne Fischer is among the volunteers.
For nearly two decades, the 75-year-old Naperville man has committed himself to serving fellow veterans. He's been especially active as a volunteer since retiring in 2009.
"I think it's important to stay active," Fischer said. "Once I retired from full-time work, I was trying to stay busy. I think I'm busier today than when I was when I was working full time."
Fischer, a Vietnam veteran, is a past commander of Naperville American Legion Post 43. He also is a former DuPage County American Legion commander. In addition, he has served as commander of the 11th District, which contains DuPage, Will, McHenry and Kane counties, and the Second Division, which covers all of northern Illinois except Cook County.
He also is a longtime member of Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 in Naperville.
His community involvement includes serving on the committee that plans Naperville's Memorial Day parade and helping with the city's Healing Field of Honor. In 2002, he was one of the residents who worked to raise money to restore Naperville's "The Spirit of the American Doughboy" sculpture.
Fischer also is a member of the committee that organizes the DuPage Veterans Foundation's annual Honor Flight Chicago fundraiser at DuPage Airport in West Chicago.
"His willingness to give up his time to support veterans and veterans issues in DuPage County and across the state is incredible," said Steve Fixler, superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of DuPage County.
Fischer, who grew up on a farm in Minnesota, served in the Marines from 1966 to 1971. After his military service, he got a job with a livestock feed company. He moved to Naperville in 1981 after being promoted to a position at the company's headquarters in Chicago.
While he was a member of Naperville's American Legion and VFW, Fischer wasn't too involved because his job required him to do a lot of traveling. Starting around 2000, he had more time to volunteer. "It just kind of grew from there," he said.
Fischer said he has a great deal of respect for fellow veterans and wants to do whatever he can to help them.
Through the American Legion Department of Illinois, Fischer is a member of several panels, including the Education and Scholarship Committee and the National Security Commission. He also serves on a national commission on youth education.
"Right now, a lot of my focus is on youth programs," he said. "But I keep an ear to the ground on our veterans because we've got to take care of them."
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