Cook County Veterans Affairs | Spring Newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Cook County Government Logo

Veterans Affairs 

Veterans Affairs 2024 Spring Newsletter

Message from Cook County Director of Veterans Affairs Maj. Ret. Deanna "De" Love

Greetings Cook County Veterans, Service Members and Families!

The Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs (CCVA) is pleased to begin 2024 with exciting events and efforts within our military community.

Spring Highlights

Women Veterans Town Hall, Resource and Employment Fair

On Saturday, March 30, the CCVA, Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County, National Women Veterans United, Merging Vets and Players, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs held the inaugural Women Veterans Town Hall, Resource and Employment Fair.

Following opening remarks by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other veterans affairs leaders, women veterans and current service members were invited to share their stories of service as well as the challenges they’ve faced with key stakeholders, decision-makers and organizations that support veterans and military families.

Participants and guests had the opportunity to meet with more than a dozen veteran and military service providers, as well as employers. The event concluded with a self-defense class for women veterans.

Women Veterans Town Hall, Resource and Employment Fair Speakers
NatCon Panelists

16th Annual Student Veterans of America Conference  

CCVA Director Love served as a panelist along with veterans affairs leaders from around the country at the 16th annual Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference (NatCon) held in Nashville, Tennessee January 4 - 6. The panel, Tools for Success: Starting a New Life in a New City, covered best practices for transitioning from military service, integrating into a new city or returning home as well as veterans services and structure at the city, county and state levels. The SVA has nearly 1,600 chapters on campuses across the U.S. and globally. Each NatCon serves as a vehicle for members to share ideas and practices, network with student veterans and service members, and receive services and vital information from government, corporate and nonprofit sponsors and receive direct VA services. This year, NatCon hosted 2,200 attendees, processed 361 claims and had 104 breakout sessions.

Small Business Grant

Small Business Grant Award

On February 6, President Preckwinkle joined small-business owners, business support organizations and other partners to celebrate the distribution of the 2023 Source Grant. The program represents a historic $50 million investment in both city neighborhoods and suburban communities through the Cook County Small Business Source. The 3,000 grant recipients received either $10,000 or $20,000 grants including 45 veteran-owned businesses, which received a total of $790,000 in grant funding.

Promotion of Sergeant First Class

Samantha Villafuerte

On Friday, February 9, at the United States Army Reserve Center, home of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade in Homewood, dozens of service members, veterans, community partners and families joined to celebrate the promotion of Samantha Villafuerte to the rank of Master Sergeant. A Cook County native with an impressive 17-year career as an Army reservist and a community hero, Master Sergeant (MSG) Villafuerte has also served as a recruiter for the past four years assisting dozens of students and community members to cultivate their potential and begin careers in the Army. On behalf of President Preckwinkle, the CCVA would like to thank MSG Villafuerte for her esteemed service and impact on the community.

MSG Villafuerte
us flag

Organization to Know

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

Upcoming Event


2024 Vets and Pets Program

CCVA and the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control have partnered with Chicago Animal Care and Control for the return of Vets and Pets, a free rabies and distemper vaccine and microchip clinic for pets belonging to County veterans and service members.

The event is set for July 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at General Richard L. Jones Armory, 5200 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL 60615.

For more information, click HERE


If you have any questions, please email Maj. Ret. Deanna "De" Love at or call (312) 603-6423.