Illinois Dept. of Veterans' Affairs Newsletter            February 2014

VA Recognizes 


for Innovative Excellence


The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs received the Abraham Lincoln Pillar of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at a special White House Ceremony.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (right) and National Association of State Directors of  Veterans Affairs President Clyde Marsh (left) presented the award to IDVA Director Erica Borggren on Wednesday, Feb. 11 during the 2014 NASDVA Mid-Winter Conference


"This award validates the great effort and accomplishments of our member organizations in Illinois Joining Forces," said Dir. Borggren.  "I was proud to represent the IJF and to accept the award on behalf of our more than 180 member organizations across Illinois." 


The Abraham Lincoln Pillar of Excellence Award is a new program by the VA in partnership with NASDVA.  The goal of the award is to recognize those state agencies that engage on the three VA Priority Goals  - eliminating claims backlog, ending Veterans homelessness, and improving access to VA benefits and services; as well as highlighting those states for Innovative Excellence for program or services to veterans.  
Along with the IDVA-sponsored IJF effort, Alabama,  Washington and Texas were also recognized.


23 Years Later:

Desert Storm 




The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs is honored to host the 23rd Desert Storm Remembrance Ceremony to remember and pay tribute to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Desert Storm 23 years ago. 


Desert Storm cost 382 American lives, 147 of those combat deaths, including 14 from Illinois.  There were 467 wounded in combat, and the overall cost of the war was $61 billion dollars, with some $53 billion paid for by contributing or Coalition nations. 


The ground offensive operations - commonly termed the "100-Hour War" - began at 4 a.m., Feb 24, overwhelming Iraqi ground forces, capturing thousands, and ejecting the remainder out of Kuwait.  The Coalition Forces, under the command of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, unilaterally ceased offensive operations against the Iraqis at 8:01 a.m., Feb. 28, 1991.


The keynote speaker for the event will be Jaime Martinez, who served in the conflict as an Infantry sergeant with the Scout Platoon, 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, which earned the Army's Meritorious Unit Commendation for actions in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Martinez currently serves as General Counsel to the IDVA and retired from the Army as an Infantry officer with over 26 years service.   

The ceremony will take place on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at 11 a.m., at the Illinois State Military Museum, 1301 North MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, IL. The event is open to the public. 
Veteran of the Month - February 2014

 Archie Ford

On Friday, Feb. 28, Archie Ford - Director of Homeless Service for the Salvation Army of Sangamon County,  a U.S. Army veteran, and a dedicated volunteer and advocate for homeless and those challenged with drug/alcohol addiction - will be recognized as the Illinois Veteran of the Month for February 2014

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Illinois State Military Museum, 1301 North MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, IL, beginning at 2 pm.  The public and media are welcome to attend.


The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and make a real difference in the lives of others. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit the IDAV website and learn more!

You Can Make A Difference 


Our Illinois Veterans need your help.  A donation to the Veterans Assistance Fund is easy and helps fund the Veterans Cash Grants.  


All monies contributed via this site help Illinois veterans in the following areas:  post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness, long-term care, disability benefits, health insurance costs, and employment assistance.  Grants are awarded to qualifying public and non-profit organizations serving veterans directly in these areas.


Since Gov. Pat Quinn first championed and launched the program in 2006, Veterans Cash has awarded more than $11 million in grants to more than 210 veterans' organizations statewide.


To donate, visit the Veterans Assistance Fund website.


Important News!


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the phased roll out of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards (VHIC). The new cards have additional security features and will have a different look and feel, similar to a typical health insurance card.  The VHIC displays the Veteran's Member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID, reflecting the Veteran's enrollment in VA health care.

Enrolled Veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility. 


Separately, beginning on March 17, 2014 the Social Security Administration will start a new process to expedite disability claims of veterans who have a compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Your IDVA Calendar  


Feb. 26             Homeless Summit - Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, 

                 North Chicago, IL


Feb. 28             Desert Shield/Desert Storm Remembrance Event - Illinois Military Museum,

                        Springfield, IL


  Illinois Veteran of the Month Ceremony  - Illinois Military Museum,

  Springfield, IL


March 1            Illinois' Cyber Aces Championships - Moraine Valley Community College


March 9-10       Orion Midwest Regional Hiring Conference - Chicago IL


March 26          Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Chicago, IL


April 8              Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - St Louis, MO


April 24            Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Evansville, IN 


April 29            Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Chicago, IL


May 26             Memorial Day - State Offices Closed


June 5              Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fair - Peoria, IL

 Events Subject to Change

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