Cook County Veterans Affairs - April 2022 Newsletter

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Cook County Seal - Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President

Veterans Affairs | April 2022

In this issue:

  • Letter from the Director
  • Women’s History Month: Getting to Know Your Everyday Heroes of Illinois
  • Organization to Know: Forest Park Vet Center
  • Events in the Veterans Community

A Letter from the Director of Veterans Affairs Maj. Deanna "De" Love, USA, Ret.

Happy April Cook County veterans!

March proved to be a very eventful month for the veteran community. From various events celebrating female veterans in honor of Women’s History Month, to resource and employment fairs as well as a surprise visit from representatives from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, March was a great kick-off for the months ahead.


On Wednesday, March 16, the County had the honor of hosting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Donald Remy for a student veteran round table at the University of Illinois Chicago. Deputy Secretary Remy, staff from the DVA along with local officials and veteran service organizations met with student veterans from various Chicago-based universities and colleges. During the roundtable, student veterans discussed issues that affect them.


The Evanston VFW Snell Post 7186 kicked off Women’s History Month with their virtual event Women’s Contribution to Our Country. On Saturday March 26, 2022, members of the post were joined by a panel of women veterans from the area and received a surprise video message from veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. After a short presentation, panelists answered questions from the audience.

vet fair

Wednesday, March 30, was full of engagement throughout the Cook County veteran community. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Commissioner Alma Anaya (7th District), Veteran Committee Chair Commissioner Brandon Johnson (1st District) and co-chair Commissioner Donna Miller (6th District) welcomed veterans to the County’s first resource and employment fair of the year. The County partnered with National Able Network, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and Illinois Department of Employment Security to host the fair where veterans engaged with 13 vendors and four employers, who provided a wide range of resources and employment opportunities.


Also taking place on March 30, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Don McDonough wrapped up his visit to the region by participating in a panel discussion with students from universities throughout Cook County. The secretary, his staff and representatives from veteran service organizations throughout the County discussed the interests of the student veteran community.


Commissioner Donna Miller (6th District) closed out Women’s History Month with a networking event for women veterans. The commissioner and her guests were welcomed by the Park Forest American Legion Post 1198 for an evening of comradery, empowerment and shared resources available to women veterans.

Stay connected by following the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook page.

Women’s History Month: Getting to Know Your Everyday Heroes of Cook County

Throughout the history, women have risen to our nation’s call to protect and defend the ideals and principles that our country was founded upon. Cook County has a rich history of military service and plenty of notable women have left their mark. From Evanston, the late Helen Burnett Wood served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Base Hospital 12 in WWI. She was among the first American casualties of the war. She died in May 1917 aboard the S.S. Magnolia during an explosion.

In July 2016, Chicago native and U.S. Coast Guard Officer Zeita Merchant assumed command of the marine safety unit here in Chicago. Commander Merchant was the first African American woman to command a marine safety unit in the history of the Coast Guard.

At the County, women veterans continue to serve. Cook County is honored to have dozens of employees that are women veterans from different eras of conflict in various branches of service. From U.S. Army veteran Maria Vazquez in the State’s Attorney’s Office to U.S. Air Force veteran Brittany Bell in the Department of Corrections. In the Department of Human Resources, Marine veteran Gina LoGalbo continues her service to the County and fellow employees and the Director of Contracts and Compliance and U.S. Army veteran Nicole Mandeville continues to make an impact for County residents.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chief Administration Officer Tanya Anthony and the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs would like to thank the women veterans who have served and continue to serve our nation throughout the world and right here in the County.

April's Organization to Know

Spotlight on Forest Park Vet Center

Veterans face a wide spectrum of complexities that at times seem too broad for one organization to manage. The Forest Park Vet Center understands this dynamic and assists all who have served with a variety of services.

The Forest Park Vet Center is a powerhouse of services offered to veterans of all ranks, branches and eras of conflict. The team at the center provides trauma counseling, transitional assistance, bereavement and military sexual trauma counseling in addition to other services. The center has a wide network capable of treating qualifying veterans and ensuring all prior service members receive care by linking them to partner organizations.

vet center

The Forest Park Vet Center is considerate to the needs of its clients and ensures that confidentiality and comfort are a priority to the family members and veterans who visit their facility. The Forest Park Vet Center is located at 1515 S. Harlem in Forest Park, IL 60130 and is open Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The center can be reached aby calling 708-457-8805.

Know an organization that serves veterans in Cook County? Help spread the word and support. Email your submission for Cook County’s Organization to Know to

calendar icon showing a grid calendar with check marks on various days

Upcoming Events

2022 Women Veterans Conference and Resource Fair
4455 Sauk Trail, Richton Park, IL 60471
Saturday, April 30 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans and the Chicago Heights Vet Center (CHVC) have joined forces to host an all-inclusive Women Veterans Conference and Resource Fair in the south suburbs of Chicago. The theme of the one-day event is We Are Our Sister's Keeper. The purpose is to perform outreach and to connect women veterans to services at RCS, VHA, VBA as well as faith-based and community-based services.

To register, visit