Veterans Day: Veterans Day Isn’t Just a One Day Event

Region 4’s Top of Illinois Veterans Stand Down hits 20 Years

It’s gratifying to UAW veterans in Region 4 to be able to help homeless veterans. They’ve participated in the Top of Illinois Veterans Stand Down for two decades and will continue to do so until the problem of homeless veterans is eliminated.

Local 1268 members Herb Tree, left, Jarl Bengston, Dennis Gallagher and Region 4 Veterans Council Chairman Horace Hubbard sort items for distribution to area veterans.

“This is a small way in doing our part in helping them, from clothing to medical assistance and Veterans Administration (VA) assistance,” said Horace W. Hubbard, Jr., chairman of the Region 4 Veterans Committee and a member of Local 1268.

About 190 veterans participated in the event, which took place in late October at the Local 1268 union hall in Rockford, Illinois.

Hubbard said a lot of the credit for making this year’s event a success goes to Ron Sodko, who was recently elected as the Illinois state chair of the Region 4 veterans, and is president of the Top of Illinois Veterans Stand Down.

“He, as well as the Stand Down committee, did an awesome job,” Hubbard said.

Dawn Tree, left, and Donna Ball of Local 1268, go through donated clothing so veterans have something warm to wear this winter.

During the Stand Down, registered veterans were provided new underwear, socks and personal hygiene items, as well as “like new” jackets, coats, sweaters, jeans, gloves, hats, scarves, sweatpants and shirts, shoes and boots. The Winnebago County Health Department offered free blood pressure checks and flu shots. Free haircuts were provided by area professionals.

Assistance was also provided to homeless veterans, or other veterans in need, in the form of counseling, employment counseling and VA claims assistance. These items were provided by the VA and Winnebago County. Also, vets were treated to coffee and food.

Hubbard also thanked UAW Local 592, Local 1268, American Legion Post 1207, VFW Post 9759; the Rockford Charter Chapter VietNow, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 984, Vietnam Veterans of America Illinois State Council; and the River Bend Troop Support from Baldwin, Iowa, for their contributions to the event’s success.

“Region 4 played a great part in helping any way as needed, and we will continue to do this every year until we can one day say that we helped put an end to any Vet being homeless,” Hubbard said. “This is unacceptable.”

Vince Piscopo