Cook County Veterans Affairs - November 2021 Newsletter

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Cook County Seal - Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President

Veterans Affairs | November 2021

In this issue:

  • Celebrating Veterans Day 2021
  • Holiday Mental Health & Veterans Resources
  • Organizations to Know
  • Utility Assistance
  • November Veteran Events

Celebrating Veterans Day 2021

“Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

-United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The history and commemoration of Veterans Day dates back to November 11, 1918. On this date an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect, marking the beginning of the end of World War I. In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

More than 100 years later, the nation continues to take the time to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of its veterans. Now known as Veterans Day, through parades, ceremonies and public meetings, those who have risen to the call to protect and defend our country are nationally honored and recognized.

Here in Cook County, we continue to honor and salute over 156,000 veterans who reside here for their service: past, present and future. To ensure we commemorate the efforts of the service and work of the veterans of Cook County, this year we will honor one veteran for his exemplary service to improve and impact the lives of the veterans who reside in Cook County.

The honoree for 2021 is our former Director of Veterans Affairs, William “Bill” Browne. Over the last decade, Bill meritoriously served as Cook County’s Director of Veterans Affairs (VA). His efforts connected dozens of organizations and resource efforts to serve and improve the quality of life for the veterans of Cook County.

The County is honored to recognize Bill during our Veterans Day Commemoration on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Image of former Cook County Director of Veterans Affairs, William "Bill" Browne

Holiday Mental Health & Veteran Resources

Did you know that over 64% of Americans suffering with mental health disorders report a spike in signs and symptoms during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?

With the added stressors of obligations, financial strain, family responsibilities and, in some cases, the absence of loved ones, it’s no wonder why the impact of the holiday season ripples across the nation, especially among veterans.

With the lasting impressions of mental trauma that can be connected to service, the holidays can be more difficult for veterans to manage. That’s why Cook County wants to connect service members to available resources and remind veterans of everyday coping tips to help defeat holiday blues.

Use the following tips to help you prep for the holidays to maintain a healthy you!

  • Don’t overschedule - leave room for you.
  • Achieve small doable goals.
  • When stressed, remind yourself of past coping skills.
  • Reach out for support from family, friends or organizations. You’re never alone.
  • For more tips, click here.

Resources are available at your closest VA hospital. You can reach out to the mental health clinic at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center by calling 312-569-7225.

In the event of an emergency or if you just need to connect to a friendly voice, the Veterans Crisis Line can be reached 24/7 at 800-273-8255. This year, let’s do the holidays right by taking care of ourselves.

Organizations to Know

Spotlight on:
Merging Veterans & Players and POW! Gym

POW! Gym: Every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at POW! Gym, located at 310 S. Racine Ave., veterans join professional athletes to work out for an hour, followed by a huddle. During the huddle, the group builds a bond by sharing the most impactful and troubling effects of their past careers as well as celebrating each other’s successes.

Image of Director De Love at POW!

Merging Veterans & Players (MVP): MVP was founded in 2015 by Fox Sports NFL Insider, Jay Glazer and former Green Beret and Seattle Seahawk, Nate Boyer. MVP has been empowering combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off. MVP provides a new team to assist with transition, promote personal development and show veterans they are never alone.

For more information and to become a free member, contact program manager Oscar Kush at 773-499-9853 or

Group of veterans at MVP

Know an organization in the County supporting the veteran community? Shine a spotlight on them here. Email your submission for Cook County’s Organization of the Month to

Need Utility Assistance? Help is here!

As we enter into our cold season and utility bills increase, veterans and service members in need can find assistance through the following programs:

  • Cook County Housing and Emergency Services for Veterans
    Click here for details.
  • Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County
    Click here for more information.
  • Utility Resources:
    • ComEd CHAMP: If you are an active military or veteran customer who has fallen behind on your electric bill, ComEd proudly offers payment assistance options to help. Click here for additional information.
    • Peoples Gas | Illinois Patriot Plan: Under the Illinois Patriot Plan, a residence where the primary occupant is on deployment and who might be having difficulty paying their gas bill, cannot be disconnected from gas service or charged late fees for non-payment during the deployment period. Click here for details.
calendar icon showing a grid calendar with check marks on various days

November Veterans Events

Cook County Veterans Day Commemoration Program
Wednesday, November 10, 2021, 11 a.m.
Join via Facebook Live.

Jump For Vets
Saturday, November 7, 2021, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Join Rags of Honor and POW! Gym at their 3rd Annual Fundraiser for Veterans Day. Proceeds assist Chicagoland veterans suffering from PTSD. To find out more and to register, click here.

University of Chicago | Veterans Day Recognition Program (Webinar)
Thursday, November 11, 2021, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The program will recognize the service of the nation’s veterans.
For more information, email

Village of Hinsdale | Robbins Park District 1st Annual Joint Veteran and Seniors Luncheon
Saturday November 13, 2021, noon – 3 p.m.
Robbins Park District Community Center, 13800 S. Trumball Ave., Robbins, IL
For more information, call 708-913-0130.