Lake Barrington's Jim Thompson helps fellow veterans through local group
Jim Thompson is in his seventh year as a Lake Barrington trustee -- but his public service goes far beyond attending village board meetings.
A U.S. Army veteran, the 79-year-old Thompson also is a member of Veterans of Lake Barrington Shores, a nonprofit group that promotes patriotism and an appreciation of those who served in the American military.
In particular, the group maintains a military memorial garden within the Lake Barrington Shores neighborhood. There, paving stones bearing the names of veterans living and dead, as well as their branches of service and service dates, are on display for local residents and their guests to honor.
It will be the site of a Memorial Day ceremony for Lake Barrington Shores residents and their guests on Monday morning.
"It's a marvelous garden," said Thompson, who served as a military police officer at Fort Gordon in Georgia from 1964 to 1966. "We've (got) a nice little community of veterans here who appreciate they're being honored."
The members' patriotic efforts don't stop at the garden.
The group sells American flag kits, including poles and mounts, to Lake Barrington Shores residents; it has provided members for military color guards; and it has provided financial assistance to veterans through other groups, among other activities.
Although he was in the Army during the Vietnam War, Thompson didn't serve in combat. He said he helps fellow veterans today to honor the memory of the troops who went to Vietnam and didn't come home alive.
Thompson has spent much of his civilian life working in advertising and marketing, and he is the veterans group's communications director. His professional experience greatly benefits the organization, said Tom Gilder, its longtime president.
"Jim is a key to our organization because he provides insight into communicating our message," Gilder said. "(He) aids in keeping us on point with our projects and purpose."
To learn more about Veterans of Lake Barrington Shores, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Do you know of veterans helping other veterans or their communities? Share your story at email@example.com.