Resource Spotlights

Additions to the following mini-profiles will be made each week.

Click on the highlighted names of the resources at the top of the profile to visit their websites.

To view or return to our main Resource Listing, click here.


Veterans Crisis Line
If a Veteran is experiencing a crisis, they can call the Veteran Crisis Center at 800-273-8255 and press 1. The service is toll-free and operates 24 hours a day. There is also the National Center of Excellence for Veterans and their Families at RUSH. Located at the RUSH Medical Center, their ROAD Home Program provides comprehensive, evidence-based treatment in a safe and supportive environment. These services are provided in Chicago, the western suburbs and downstate Effingham. A three-week National Intensive Outpatient Program is also available for the treatment of post-traumatic stress.  These services are provided regardless of military discharge status or your ability to pay.
— CDR Joe Troiani, U.S. Navy (retired)

Vet Centers
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has been running Vet Centers since 1979. These community-based counseling centers provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans and active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Vet Centers are staffed by counselors and outreach personnel, many of whom are Veterans themselves. They are experienced and prepared to discuss loss, grief, the tragedies of war and transition after trauma. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling are offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. The Vet Centers provide free and confidential counseling and services to all Veterans. A Veteran’s problem does not need to be service-connected and they may be able to receive care even if they are not eligible for other VA services.
— Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D., Commander, U.S. Navy (retired)

VA Podcasts
There are a number of podcasts available for veterans, and the VA Podcast Network is a great place to begin. The VA Podcast Network focuses on informative, news-related, interview-style shows that share stories and spotlight resources and benefits available to veterans. The network’s seven podcasts to date cover a variety of themes, including the challenges that veterans face after their service to recent innovations at VA hospitals. Each episode of the “My Life, My Story,” podcast, for example, tells the stories of VA hospital patients, such as Korean War veteran Daniel, who was a prisoner of war in Korea for an astonishing 38 months.
— James Scalzitti

Navigating the complex web of services and benefits available to veterans can be daunting, but the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is there to help. The IDVA runs a network of offices across the state staffed by Veteran Service Officers who are experts on federal, state and local resources. VSOs, many of whom are veterans themselves, are trained and accredited by the VA to provide free assistance to veterans and their dependents and survivors. This includes providing assistance with applications for benefits and information regarding compensation and pension, healthcare, employment, education, burial, housing, military records, and more.
— James Scalzitti


Coalition of Veterans Organizations
The Coalition of Veterans Organizations advocates on behalf of Veterans on a variety of fronts. Membership is open to organizations and individuals. Their priorities include expanded health care services; mental, dental and vision care for all Veterans; and ending limits on benefits like the priority system, means test and co-pays. The organization also works to end Veteran homelessness while bridging the gap that prevents women from accessing gender-specific care and services. The CVO website acts as a clearinghouse for information, including benefits updates, job availability, upcoming events, resources and publications.
— Felicia Reilly

Military Officers Association of America
Military Officers Association of America is a non-profit, non-political association that advocates on behalf of and provides benefits to its officer members and their families. Membership is open to active duty, reserve, retired and former commissioned officers and warrant officers of the National Guard, all uniformed services and their surviving spouses. Membership levels are basic, premium and life, with various benefits at the different levels, including a strong voice in Washington, D.C. that supports legislation that beneficially impacts military members. Other benefits include financial assistance and discounts; disaster relief; publications such as newsletters and The Military Officer magazine; membership in councils, geographic and virtual chapters; career and education resources; and more.
— Felicia Reilly


BJ Chimenti Angel Fund for Veterans and Pets
The BJ Chimenti Angel Fund for Veterans and Pets is a program of the Hinsdale Humane Society that matches Veterans in need of support with pets that are in need of good homes. Costs for pet ownership are reduced so that Veterans don’t have to bear the entire financial burden. Services for Veterans and their families are also offered, including animal-assisted activities and therapy provided by the society’s Therapaws Pet Therapy teams. Volunteer opportunities are also available for those Veterans who would like to help animals that are in need.
— Felicia Reilly

Dog T.A.G.S.
Dog T.A.G.S. is more than a training program for Veterans with service dogs. It was founded by Veterans who themselves were suffering from service-connected PTSD and who knew the need for a program like this to help other Veterans with PTSD and/or Traumatic Brain Injury heal. In weekly meetings in a group setting, Veterans can share their thoughts with a social worker, and then train their personal dogs with the help of experienced and qualified instructors. Dog T.A.G.S. (Train Assist Guide Serve) has worked with Veterans who served in conflicts ranging from Vietnam to present day Iraq and Afghanistan.
— James Scalzitti

Dog Tags (Puppies Behind Bars)
Dog Tags is a program of Puppies Behind Bars that supplies service dogs to combat Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan with TBI, PTSD and other disabilities. Labrador puppies are trained by carefully screened and trained prison inmates who learn responsibility and may experience unconditional love for the first time. The inmates work with the puppies from 8 weeks to about 28 weeks of age, learning 85 commands, such as retrieving objects, turning lights on and off, opening doors, and others specific to TBI and PTSD sufferers. The dog is then matched with a disabled Veteran and further trained for the Veteran’s individual needs.
— Felicia Reilly

Freedom Farm for Vets
Freedom Farm for Vets is located at 13155 W. Hart St. in Wadsworth, Illinois. All Veterans and their families are welcome. It is a haven for Veterans to escape from painful memories and the stresses of everyday life and is a non-profit working farm that provides food for the needy in the community. A horse program allows the Veterans to care for and receive unconditional love from their four-legged companions. Special events open to the public are held periodically.
— Felicia Reilly

Freedom Service Dogs of America
Freedom Service Dogs of America is a non-profit organization that provides service dogs free of charge to Veterans and active-duty military who suffer from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, or are physically disabled. The dogs learn about 65 tasks to assist with these physical and emotional challenges. Raised as puppies, they are custom-trained for the Veterans’ needs. The organization provides lifetime support to these dogs and the Veterans they assist. Dogs are also trained as therapy dogs to serve with clinicians, therapists and law enforcement, and in other assistance roles.
— Felicia Reilly

K9s For Warriors
K9s for Warriors rescues and trains shelter dogs to be paired with veterans with service-connected PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or sexual trauma. The organization accepts applications from veterans and active-duty service members from all 50 states. Veterans stay at one of the group’s residential training facilities in Florida for a 21-day canine training program. The service dog as well as the training, certification, legal instruction and a lifetime of wraparound services are provided to the veteran free of charge.
— James Scalzitti

Lutheran Church Charities Kare 9 Military Ministry
The Lutheran Church Charities Kare 9 Military Ministry visits VFWs, VA Hospitals, care centers and the residences of the homebound with trained dogs who provide comfort and stress-relief to veterans and active military members. Part of Lutheran Church Charities, the ministry does not charge for its services. Veterans organizations, individuals, schools and other groups can request an in-person visit from the LCC Kare 9 dogs and their handlers, and virtual visits are also available.
— James Scalzitti

Operation Horses and Heroes
Operation Horses and Heroes is a free, intensive, multi-day Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program that helps Veterans with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other issues reintegrate into civilian life. The program includes a variety of activities ranging from simple horse care and grooming to intensive therapy sessions with the horses. It also provides opportunities to bond with others who have had similar experiences in their military careers. The organization has program locations in Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky.
— Felicia Reilly

Paws of War
Paws of War reunite military personnel and Veterans with the dogs and cats they rescued and bonded with while serving overseas. “Helping Both Ends of the Leash” is their slogan. The organization also trains and places dogs from shelters with Veterans and first responders as support and service animals to assist them with physical and emotional issues. Additional services include animal rescue for deployed military, companion animal adoption and training, disaster response and animal rescue, emergency foster pet care for hospitalized Veterans, housing assistance for Veterans with pets, lifetime care for retired military working dogs, a no-cost mobile veterinary clinic, a therapy dog program for Veterans and seniors, and Ukraine animal rescue and care. Headquartered in Nesconset on Long Island, New York, with some local chapters, Paws of War is a charitable organization that relies entirely on private donations. There is no cost to the beneficiaries of their services.
— Felicia Reilly

Pets for Vets Chicagoland
Pets for Vets Chicagoland is devoted to creating second chances. The organization believes that Veterans — especially those living with injury or trauma — and rescue animals both get a second chance when they’re thoughtfully and carefully matched. When Veterans apply, Pets for Vets reaches out to get to know them better. Then they “interview” their pets to determine which is best suited for each Vet. The organization has 30 chapters nationwide, with the Chicagoland Chapter covering Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry and Will counties. The program is open to any US Veteran who lives in a chapter area, is able to take care of a pet and could benefit from having one.
— James Scalzitti

Project K-9 Hero
Project K-9 Hero supports the dog heroes that protected soldiers, police officers, our families, communities and country. They do this by ensuring that military working dogs and police K-9 dogs are honored with the best quality of life during their retirement. A Project K-9 Hero Rehabilitation and Rehoming Facility and Corporate Headquarters are being planned. The organization educates the public on the costs and responsibilities of adopting a retired K-9 Hero dog and helps cover or offset medical, food and end of duty costs (cremation or burial service) for the retired K-9 Heroes that are adopted. Some retired dogs go on to live with their handlers after their war or police service. In these cases, the owner can apply for the K-9 Hero benefits by completing an application and submitting the dog’s bio and photos of the dog at work. Project K-9 Hero relies on donors and corporate sponsors to ensure that these hero dogs have a comfortable retirement.
— Felicia Reilly

Soul Harbour Ranch
Located in Barrington, Illinois, SOUL Harbour Ranch is Chicagoland’s most experienced, comprehensive animal therapy program. Four-legged friends such as cats, dogs, miniature donkeys and miniature and regular horses provide comfort, healing and improved well-being. A “SOUL Veterans Animal Therapy Troop” for Veterans, Active Service Members and their families is held on the last Sunday of every month from 10:30 a.m until noon. SOUL stands for “Sharing of Unconditional Love,” which is what these animals do, especially helping Veterans suffering from PTSD.
— Felicia Reilly

Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation Pets and Vets
In 1991, then-Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa and his wife Elaine founded ARF to rescue dogs and cats before they ran out of time at high-kill shelters. ARF initiated its Pets and Vets program in 2011, offering free dog and cat adoptions for military Veterans. The Pets and Vets program now also transforms rescue dogs into skilled service animals for Veterans. More than 50 service animals have graduated from Pets and Vets training, and even more emotional support animals are providing love and comfort to scores of Veteran companions. ARF’s new 7,900-square-foot headquarters for Pets and Vets is scheduled to open in 2021.
— James Scalzitti

Warrior Canine Connection
For more than a decade, thousands of Veterans with physical disabilities, PTSD and TBI have been assisted by specially-trained therapy dogs provided by Warrior Canine Connection (WCC). WCC has its own in-house program that breeds Labrador and golden retrievers for their intelligence, temperament, longevity and health. The WCC website features a 24/7 live puppy cam in partnership with Viewers can watch puppies at play, nursing, sleeping and participating in activities that will shape them into life-enriching adults. Part of the dogs’ training may be done by Veterans. Once a dog is fully trained, it can help Veterans with physical needs — steadying a Veteran on crutches or with an artificial limb, retrieving objects, opening and closing drawers and refrigerators, pushing buttons for lights, doors and elevators, etc. — as well as myriad emotional needs.
— Felicia Reilly


Hire a Veteran
Hire a Veteran posts employment opportunities and job resources for Veterans. This is an online searchable directory of jobs that employers wish to fill with Veterans, who are reliable, have a variety of skills, and are leaders who get the job done. Veteran job seekers may search this directory free of charge, finding jobs by category and by location. They can also create a free account where they can store previous searches and be alerted by email about jobs that would be of interest to them. Employers pay nominal fees to post jobs, and may contribute more to become a sponsor and have their logo and company information featured.
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois Department of Employment Security
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) offers a variety of services to Veterans. Veterans are given priority attention at more than 30 American Job Centers across Illinois, which offer employment services, training programs and unemployment insurance. Veterans can also receive employment assistance by emailing Veterans and others can create resumes and apply for jobs online at Notifications about job fairs and workshops are posted on the IDES website, along with links to organizations that offer employment services and otherwise serve Veterans.
— Felicia Reilly

Montclair State University
“Small Business Resources for Active-Duty Service Members and Veteran Entrepreneurs” is a free online guide sponsored by Montclair State University. Any service member or Veteran thinking of starting their own business would benefit greatly from this unique, helpful tool. It is organized by topic, with each entry containing helpful advice and links to valuable information and resources. Topics like Business Ideas, Education, Training and Development, Networking, Mentorship, Loans, Grants and Financial Resources, and Resources for Veteran Entrepreneurs with Disabilities are covered. The guide concludes with a useful array of additional resources.
— Felicia Reilly

RecruitMilitary is a treasure trove of information for Veteran military and spouse job seekers. Their website allows for searching for both in-person and online job fairs. Over 80 job fairs are held in more than 30 locations each year. On the website, a database of available jobs are keyword searchable by type, company, and job location. Resources on the website assist with interview preparation, resumes, networking, mentorship, job market updates, and much more. Thousands of companies have partnered with RecruitMilitary to provide jobs and careers for military searchers. There’s a helpful digital magazine, which one can register for online, “Search & Employ,” which provides advice and tips, and information about military-centric companies, growing industries, job market trends and success stories.
— Felicia Reilly

Veteran Business Project
Veterans returning from war or military service have a lot of decisions and transitions to make. Deciding what to do for a living can be difficult, but help is available. A Veteran may decide to become an entrepreneur and open his or her own business or become a franchisee. Assistance with planning, taxes, logistics, obtaining loans and other decisions can be quite overwhelming. Veteran Business Project can provide this much-needed assistance, including matching Veterans with businesses for sale. Business coaches can be assigned to Veterans to help them navigate the process and procedures of deciding on a business venture. Businesses can register to connect with Veterans who will be conscientious and reliable employees and business partners.
— Felicia Reilly

Veteran-Owned Business Directory
The Veteran Owned Business Directory contains profiles of nearly 20,000 Veteran-owned businesses. Launched on Veterans Day in 2008, the directory is open to listing businesses owned by Veterans, Active Duty Military, Reservists, Service Disabled Veterans and Military Spouses of the United States Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard. Business owners fill out an online application to have their business listed. This is a free service to both the business owner and the searcher who is trying to find businesses owned by Veterans. The directory receives thousands of visitors daily, among them government agencies, corporate purchasing departments, contractors, consumers and fellow Veterans who wish to support other Veterans.
— Felicia Reilly


Chicago Clerk (No Fee Vehicle Stickers)
Veterans who live in Chicago can get one free city vehicle sticker from the City Clerk’s Office. The stickers are valid for a passenger or large passenger vehicle or motorbike. You must have a current Illinois Driver’s License or State ID with a Veteran designation to be eligible. Veterans must go to a City Clerk location to get these stickers: They’re not available online or by mail. There will be no refunds for already issued stickers; eligible Veterans will qualify when their sticker is up for renewal. Annual Residential Zone Parking may be added for $25 if the purchaser resides in a Residential Parking Zone.
— James Scalzitti
For a downloadable PDF, click here.

CouponFollow Military Discount Guide
CouponFollow’s Interactive Military Discount Guide helps US military and veterans find available savings and rewards programs for more than 315 online websites and retail stores. Discounts range from 10-50 percent off for online and in-store purchases, as well as freebies and upgrades. Discounts can be searched by categories like auto, business and services, education, entertainment and sports, food and dining, retail, tech and travel. Or you can scroll down and browse through a wide range of offerings from AARP, Carnival Cruise Lines, Foot Locker,  LasikPlus, Nationwide Insurance, Sprint and Wendy’s.

Cook County Assessor’s Office
The Cook County Assessor’s Office administers property tax exemptions that may contribute to lowering a Veteran’s property tax bill. For Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflict, the Returning Veterans Exemption provides a $5,000 reduction in the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of their property for the taxable year in which they return. The Homestead Exemption for Veterans with Disabilities is for Veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The exemption reduces by certain amounts the EAV on the primary residence of a Veteran with a disability, likely lowering the tax bill. The amounts of those EAV deductions depend on the level of disability. Veterans 70 precent or more disabled receive an EAV reduction of $250,000, and because of this can be totally exempt from property taxes on their home.
Assembled by, this guide lists discounts to active-duty members, reservists and Veterans of the U.S. military. Two hundred brands are grouped into 26 shopping categories. The guide can be downloaded in PDF format for easy access at all times. A valid service ID or Veteran’s card is required when shopping to receive the discounts.
— Felicia Reilly

Vet Tix
Vet Tix is a non-profit organization that offers free tickets to Veterans and members of all branches of active military, as well as their families, including immediate family of troops killed in action. Tickets to concerts, educational and family events, festivals, performing arts and sporting events are provided. Through its services, Vet Tix strives to improve quality of life by reducing stress, strengthening family bonds, providing positive memories and engaging with the community. After military service is verified, qualified users choose the tickets that interest them, paying only a small delivery fee
— Felicia Reilly

Veterans Canteen Service
Veterans Canteen Service is a self-sustaining part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Its mission is to provide Veterans enrolled in the VA’s health care system, their families and caregivers, VA employees, volunteers and visitors with reasonably priced merchandise and services. VCS members can access exclusive deals on hundreds of premium brands in categories such as apparel, footwear, prescription eyewear, tires, travel and entertainment tickets and electronics. There are locations at VA benefits offices nationwide. Online shopping is also available. Similar to the military exchange system, a portion of proceeds at the canteens goes back into services for Veterans.
— James Scalzitti


Café Liberty
Café Liberty assists veterans who are unemployed or underemployed and looking to enter the culinary field. This program professionally trains participants for a lifetime career in the food service industry and can serve as a bridge to an advanced culinary institution. The 11-week program at Café Liberty’s Wheaton training facility is offered up to four times per year with between eight and 10 participants in each class. Adult family members of veterans are also accepted into the program. Classes are temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, but applications are being accepted for future classes.
— James Scalzitti

University of North Dakota
Veterans who specialized in information technology are natural fits for the roughly 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs in the United States. The tough part is getting started in the field and finding the right IT position. Through its online Master’s in Cyber Security program, the University of North Dakota can help Veterans get a grasp on the cyber security career path. The university offers cyber security education and training resources specifically for Veterans. The program addresses cyber security basics as well as potential jobs and careers in the field. Veterans will then learn how to start a cyber security career, and identify the certifications that can help them advance through cyber security ranks.
— James Scalzitti


Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation
The Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation raises funds through individual donations and sponsorships to support organizations that assist Veterans in need. Foundation grants are deployed in three ways: to help Veterans who are in need of home repair, one-time housecleaning and/or waste removal; to provide direct financial assistance to Veterans and their families, and to conduct events or programs that address issues related to the Veteran community. In addition, the foundation works closely with partner organizations in developing programs and opportunities for Veterans in need.

Children of Fallen Patriots
Children of Fallen Patriots was founded in 2002 by a Veteran whose comrade perished while on active duty, leaving behind a wife and unborn daughter.  This 501(c)3 non-profit organization provides college scholarships to dependent children in all 50 states, in all branches of the military. The parent may have died of combat casualties, military training accidents, service-related illnesses, suicide and other duty-related deaths as ruled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to tuition, the scholarships may also cover room and board, books, fees, living expenses and computer stipends.
— Felicia Reilly

The Military Wallet
The Military Wallet highlights a variety of personal finance resources, programs and benefits that help military members, Veterans and their families manage their money. There is no cost to use the website, subscribe to its newsletters and updates, or listen to its podcast. Founded by a Veteran, the Military Wallet contains information about benefits, the GI Bill and other education benefits, VA disability, discounts, the military and federal government employee Thrift Savings Plan, retirement planning, reviews of the best banks, insurance, online brokers and credit cards for military members and Veterans, and many other areas of interest. Taxes, mortgages and financial news topics are also featured.
— Felicia Reilly

Purple Heart Foundation
Founded in 1957, the Purple Heart Foundation raises funds to support active-duty service members and Veterans and their families. Their mission is to “enhance the quality of life of all Veterans and their families by providing them with direct service and fostering an environment of camaraderie and goodwill among combat-wounded veterans.” Some of the services offered are assistance for homeless Veterans; academic scholarships; PTSD Resources; service dogs; and Veterans Critical Assistance Grants. Monetary donations from corporations and individuals are welcome, and donations of clothes and household items are sold at their thrift shops to raise additional funds.
— Felicia Reilly


Archdiocese of Chicago Veterans Website
This website offers resources for returning Service Members, Veterans and their families, and for the families of those who died in service. The website offers advice to parishes in assisting Veterans and their families in transitioning from military to civilian life, including prayers for Veterans as well as Service Members leaving for or returning from deployment. The website also points to resources for Veterans in crisis and those who are dealing with PTSD, homelessness and hunger. Reading recommendations are provided, as well as worship information and messages from clergy working with the Veterans ministry.
— Felicia Reilly

Birdies for the Brave
A division of the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, Birdies for the Brave is a national military outreach program to thank and help service members, Veterans and their families. Created in 2004 to raise funds for combat-wounded Veterans, donations initially came from PGA Tour players, fans, Tournament Players Club members, volunteers and corporate sponsors. Many more services are provided now, among them financial aid, rehabilitation programs, housing, counseling, educational scholarships, and career development and recruitment. Appreciation activities are conducted during PGA Tour tournaments, with fundraising events being hosted at the PGA Tour’s Tournament Players Clubs and partner golf courses across the country.
— Felicia Reilly

Blue Star Families
Founded in 2009 by spouses and families of those serving in the military, Blue Star Families serves as a source for all things military family-related. A multitude of programs and services help military spouses and families to thrive and know that they are not alone. Common challenges can be overcome by sharing information and experiences between military, Veteran and civilian communities. Online resources for COVID-19 and other health information and financial and social issues important to military and Veteran families are a big part of the website. A current initiative is assisting Afghan allies to resettle in the United States.
— Felicia Reilly

Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities provides a number of services to Veterans in Cook and Lake Counties. Their aim is to improve Veterans’ economic and housing stability by providing financial assistance; utility payment assistance; homelessness prevention; emergency housing; long-term housing; housing search assistance; job search help, including training and placement; and assistance to Veterans in obtaining VA benefits. Affordable housing for Veterans is available at the Bishop Goedert Residence on the VA’s Hines Campus. Long-term residence is available at the St. Leo Campus for Veterans on Chicago’s South Side, which also hosts a VA-run outpatient clinic. Catholic Charities also provides for alcoholism and drug addiction transitional housing, professional clothing for job interviews and work, and other services.
— Felicia Reilly

Community Salute
The Institute of Museum and Library Services has issued a set of guidelines to assist libraries, archives and museums in providing services to Veterans and military families. Dubbed Community Salute, resources include a selection of topics, discussion-starters, data gathering, and facilitation tools that can be used to guide community development work. Launching oral history projects, hosting programs highlighting the stories of local veterans, and accepting books written by veterans for inclusion in collections are among the initiatives.
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois Joining Forces
Illinois Joining Forces helps service members, Veterans and their families (collectively referred to as SMVF) access services and resources in their local communities. An agreement between the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Department of Military Affairs created Illinois Joining Forces to provide a statewide network of military- and Veteran-serving organizations. As there are 5000 military-specific organizations in Illinois, Illinois Joining Forces helps SMVFs locate the proper organizations for their specific needs, which can sometimes be challenging, especially if someone is in a crisis. They also operate a Women’s Veteran Program, addressing specific women’s issues that might not be met in the general Veteran community.
— Felicia Reilly

Midwest Veterans Closet
Midwest Veterans Closet is a non-profit organization that supplies food, goods, clothing and other help to active-duty service members and Veterans and their families at no charge. The organization relies solely on donations, and provides dignity and a helping hand to those who have protected our freedoms. Donations are a way of giving back to those who have given so much to us. The Midwest Veterans Closet is located at 2323 Green Bay Road in North Chicago.
— Felicia Reilly

National Resource Directory
The National Resource Directory is a database of validated resources that supports recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration for service members, Veterans, family members and caregivers. It is operated by the Defense Health Agency’s Recovery Coordination Program. The online searchable directory spotlights organizations, VA departments, and government agencies that assist with benefits, social welfare, health care, education, employment, homelessness and housing, military adaptive sports programs, transportation and other issues. A usage guide, glossary, NRD fact sheet and contact list are helpful sections that assist searchers to get the most out of this comprehensive directory.
— Felicia Reilly

Rags of Honor
Rags of Honor is a non-profit organization in Chicago that provides employment and services for homeless and unemployed Veterans. The Veterans work at a silkscreen shop that manufactures t-shirts, which is 100% operated by homeless and unemployed Veterans. Their motto is: “They had our backs, let’s keep the shirts on theirs.” Rags of Honor pays a living wage, offers continuing education and training, and provides Veterans with life skills to live with dignity. All proceeds from the sale of shirts and apparel go directly to employ the Veterans who are producing the garments. Veterans employed with Rags of Honor also produce Veteran Roasters Coffee and Cardshark military-grade wallet cases.
— Felicia Reilly
Tucked away on the official website of the United States government is a wellspring of information and services available to Veterans and members of the military. You can reach the page by visiting and clicking on Military and Veterans or you can click on the link below. Topics include Selective Service; Joining the Military; Locating Military Members, Units and Facilities; Military Pay and Pensions; Military Programs and Benefits; Military Records and Identification; Military and Veterans Education Benefits; Veterans Health Benefits and Issues; Veterans Jobs and Training; Veterans Housing; and Veterans Burial and Survivor Benefits.
— Felicia Reilly

Veterans Guide
Veterans Guide offers useful information for Veterans, including available VA benefits and how to apply, toxic exposure in the military and resources to deal with it, Social Security disability insurance for Veterans, and helpful videos. Service-related disabilities are emphasized, with a 2024 VA Disability Calculator featured. By entering the Veteran’s disabilities and ratings, along with factors such as the severity of the disability, the number of dependents, a spouse’s disabilities, and other factors, a combined disability rating and estimated monthly compensation amount are calculated.
— Felicia Reilly

The U.S. has evacuated thousands of Afghans who will soon enter the country. Many of these allies and their families aided American diplomatic, military, or civic agencies as interpreters, translators, professionals, or other support personnel – and are actively at risk of persecution by the Taliban. Some are US citizens born or living in Afghanistan, some are seeking Special Immigrant Visa status or designation as refugees fleeing persecution, and others qualify for humanitarian parolee status, which has been done in other military evacuations. Welcome.US is dedicated to welcoming and supporting them as they evacuate, resettle and build new lives in communities across America.
— Felicia Reilly


Camp Lejeune Claims Center
Between the 1950s and late 1980s, nearly 1 million people at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water, causing cancer, congenital disabilities, and other serious health conditions. New laws now allow Camp Lejeune water contamination victims to take action. The Camp Lejeune Claims Center exists to help military Veterans and their families get justice. It was founded by health advocate Chris Carberg, whose father died from bladder cancer connected to Camp Lejeune water contamination. For information about the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Veterans Support, click here.

Chicago Veterans
Chicago Veterans is a non-profit organization that assists Veterans in taking control of their transition to civilian life. They do this by sharing information and providing support systems to Veterans in numerous ways. Social engagement opportunities and peer-to-peer support prevent isolation and improve the Veterans’ mental well-being, reducing the effects of PTSD. To have a successful transition throughout life, according to the organization’s website, three components are stressed 1) Social Connectedness, 2) Employment Readiness, and 3) Educational Peer Mentorship. Their website contains links to a variety of resources and events.
— Felicia Reilly

Guitars for Vets
Veterans afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are finding hope in an unlikely place: behind the wood and strings of an acoustic guitar. Rooted in the healing power of music, Guitars for Vets provides veterans with guitars and a forum to learn how to play. Through the teamwork and camaraderie of G4V, veterans can join a community where they learn to play guitar and find solace in the songs they love as well as those they have yet to write. Monthly group sessions are organized at each of G4V’s many local chapters to provide Veterans with a communal atmosphere to talk and play music with peers who have shared similar experiences.
— James Scalzitti

Headstrong helps Veterans heal the hidden wounds of war with confidential and effective mental health treatment for Veterans and their families. Through a network of providers in 12 states and 28 markets, Headstrong connects Veterans with rapid, no-cost counseling services (in person or via telehealth) with mental health professionals who have been trained in treating military veterans, including combat-related post-traumatic stress.

Hidden Heroes
Operating under the auspices of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Hidden Heroes offers relief, respite and resources to ease the challenges faced by caregivers of disabled, wounded or ill service members and Veterans. The organization rallies the support of individuals, businesses and communities as well as civic, faith and  government leaders, and is creating a national registry that connects caregivers with a plethora of information and services
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois Chess Vets
Studies have shown that playing chess has many ancillary benefits including working both sides of the brain, keeping players intellectually limber, and helping stave off dementia. The members of Illinois Chess Vets understand that, and strive to improve opportunities for veterans and others to learn, play and enjoy the game. The group hosts weekly meetings and offers Veterans’ discounts for chess tournaments. They bring the game to VA hospitals, where they focus on patients with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, and support the formation of chess clubs by Veterans’ organizations. A long-term goal is to host a Veterans Cup chess competition.
— James Scalzitti

Make the Connection
No matter when, where or how you served, or what you’ve experienced in military or civilian life, you may be facing challenges that affect your health, relationships, and life. Whether your military role ended two decades ago or two days ago, you share with Veterans everywhere the common bonds of duty, honor and service to our nation. is an online resource designed to connect Veterans and their family members, friends and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions that allow them to better address the issues that confront them. By enabling contact with other Veterans who have faced challenges and found paths to recovery, Make the Connection shows Veterans that they are not alone and that effective help is available.
— Megan Mayberry

Mankind Project Chicago
ManKind Project USA strives to “empower men to live lives of Integrity, Accountability, Compassion, and Service in our World.” This is done through support groups, retreats and programs that help men improve their own lives as well as those of others. Warrior Training Adventures are held annually, as well as free and low-cost weekly, monthly and annual programs covering a wide variety of topics, including forgiveness, leadership, racism, responsibility, sexism and others. Men learn to be of service to their families and children, in addition to their local communities. More than 50 weekly and bi-monthly men’s groups in the Chicago area help men learn to be of service to their families while giving back to their communities by mentoring at-risk youth, assisting prison inmates, working with the homeless and other areas. Groups are also operated in downstate Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana and eastern Iowa.
— Felicia Reilly

Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans
The Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a non-profit organization whose vision is “to end Veteran homelessness so that no person who has defended our homes goes without a home.” Co-founded by two combat Veterans, the shelter opened its doors in 2007. Located in Wheaton, Illinois, the shelter provides transitional housing. Other services include a Freedom Commissary that meets the basic needs of Veterans and their families, including clothing, household items, furniture and other supplies; permanent supportive housing; support services for families of Veterans; a Veteran Employment Program and a case management program that helps with financial problems, medical and mental health, and other resources to help a Veteran get back on his or her feet.
— Felicia Reilly

Mission Daybreak
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been working on a 10-year initiative to recruit professionals and innovators to help develop suicide prevention methods that meet the varied needs of Veterans. The VA is working to gather a variety of solutions through a diverse population of professionals, such as advocates, clinicians, health innovators, researchers, service members, technologists and Veterans who can collaborate and share their expertise. Professionals have applied to be part of teams that will be awarded grants for research and collaboration
— Felicia Reilly

Objective Zero
Every day, approximately 20 Veterans and Service Members in the U.S. take their own lives. This is nearly twice the rate of non-Veterans. Depression, family troubles, PTSD or traumatic brain injury are just some issues that contribute to this tragedy. Objective Zero Foundation is a non-profit organization that uses mobile and web app technology to attempt to reverse this trend by connecting the military and Veteran communities to mental health resources, peer support and ultimately wellness. Their name says it all: They are working to get 20 suicides down to zero. For information or assistance with the app, call 202-573-9660 or email
— Felicia Reilly

Psych/Armor is a nonprofit organization that provides education and training to improve the health and lives of military-connected individuals. They offer free educational online video courses pertaining to military culture for employers, healthcare providers, Veterans, military family members, and others. Some examples of videos include “15 Things Veterans Want You to Know,” “Networking for Military Spouses” and “Developing a Military Awareness Program on Campus.” There are more than 250 courses on topics such as caregiving, financial wellness, mental health, service member transition and more. Psych/Armor also works with businesses and organizations to provide custom learning and educational content specific to their needs.
— Felicia Reilly

Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center
The Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center provides mental health care to veterans, service members and their families. Veterans of all eras, regardless of discharge status, are eligible at no cost. Virtual and in-person outpatient services are available, including treatment of PTSD, military sexual trauma, mental health challenges and family programming. We also offer support groups. Our program strives to empower veterans by focusing on immediate symptom reduction, long-term recovery and permanent lifestyle changes. Our mission is to provide clients with the skills and tools needed to build healthy, meaningful relationships and productive lives.
— James Scalzitti

Project Red Team
Project Red Team is a nationwide, non-profit mental health education and outreach program designed by military members, first responders and their families specifically for those in the military, Veterans, first responders and their families. Their main focus is suicide education and prevention. Under the auspices of the mental health initiative Hope for the Day, their motto is “It’s OK not to be OK.” PRT connects those in need of mental health services or community services with the proper resources for help.
— Felicia Reilly

Semper Fi & America’s Fund
Semper Fi & America’s Fund cares for critically wounded, ill, and injured service members, Veterans and military families. The organization supports all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, providing one-on-one case management and lifetime support. Created in 2003 by a group of military spouses who continue to run the fund today, they are assisted now by other spouses, retired service members and volunteers. Financial assistance and quality of life solutions are provided to ease suffering and assist caregivers. Begun with a monetary donation from a church, the fund is able to continue its work through the generosity of its many donors.
— Felicia Reilly

Support Over Stigma
The Support Over Stigma mission is to “Help Military, Veterans, and First Responders overcome their mental health and service-related challenges.”  Their motto is to “Save Lives — One Hero At A Time.” Founded by a military mother who watched her son’s friends lose their battles with PTSD, SoS was launched in 2020 and currently provides support to more than 25,000 Veterans, military members, and first responders. Programs include life-saving outreach efforts, educational programs, and direct intervention in trauma-induced mental health problems. They provide education, resources, support and tools that are needed to overcome mental health and service-related challenges. Assistance is available for food, homelessness and housing insecurity. Mentorship, military partnerships, and an annual walk increase the awareness and comradery that can improve these heroes’ plights.
— Felicia Reilly

Team Red, White & Blue
The mission of Team Red, White & Blue is to enrich the lives of America’s Veterans and to foster a sense of belonging, camaraderie and inclusion. Team RWB offers events, workouts and challenges at nearly 200 locations nationwide and through the Team RWB App for Veterans and supporters.

The Veterans Healing Farm
The Veterans Healing Farm in Hendersonville, North Carolina, provides opportunities for Veterans to learn about farming and then participate with civilians in the growing, harvesting and distributing the vegetables, fruit and flowers free of charge to Veterans and their caregivers in the area. In the process, Veterans find healing through camaraderie, working toward a purpose and knowing they are helping fellow Veterans. The VHF held a clothing drive for Afghan refugees and also hosts events related to gardening, healthcare, crafts and entertainment.
— Felicia Reilly

The Way Back Inn and Grateful House
The Way Back Inn and Grateful House serve adult men and women who are suffering from alcohol, drug and gambling dependence. The overall goal is to help clients achieve continuous sobriety. Every client is treated with dignity and respect. Their mission is to rebuild lives damaged by addiction in a personalized healing environment in which men and women’s lives are transformed and relationships are healed. The recovery program focuses on the integration of the body, mind and spirit. Their Military Veterans Recovery Program offers outpatient treatment through both individual, group, family and 12-step sessions; residential care at facilities in Maywood as well as Oak Park, Melrose Park and Forest Park; and DUI Risk Evaluation and Education. The Way Back Inn and Grateful House is located at 104 Oak St. in Maywood.
— Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D., Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)

Veterans Smile
Veterans Smile provides funding for free critical dental care for program-eligible Veterans whose needs aren’t covered by the VA. Veterans are pre-screened for eligibility into the program. Many of our nation’s Veterans are suffering from myriad health-related issues caused by the lack of proper oral hygiene and dental care. Veterans Smile raises awareness about this growing dental/health crisis, in addition to helping to pay for crucial services. The organization was founded by Patricia DeVore, who also serves as president. For more information or to apply to be pre-screened, click here.

Vets 4 Warriors
Everyone needs someone to talk to, and sometimes only another Veteran can understand what a Veteran is going through. This is not a crisis line: Rather, it is designed to help Veterans talk out problems with another Veteran before they become a crisis. Veterans are welcome to call, as are friends or relatives who are concerned about a Veteran. This service is completely free and confidential and all callers may remain anonymous. Call 855-838-8255 for immediate connection to a Veteran or military service member. Help is also available via email at Someone will email back within 24 hours. There is no limit to the number of times someone can call or email, and follow-up is available until issues are resolved.
— Felicia Reilly

Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project began in 2003 by delivering care and comfort items to the bedsides of wounded Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Programs and services have since been expanded to include assistance with career and financial counseling, independence assistance, long-term rehabilitative care, mental health treatment and other resources. The organization also provides advocacy services on behalf of Veterans and their families. Veterans and service members who served in the military on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and incurred a physical or mental injury or illness during or after service are eligible. All services and programs are provided at no cost.
— Felicia Reilly


Fisher House
When a Veteran or service member receives medical treatment at a military or VA medical center, they’re often accompanied and visited by their families. But when the hospital is far from home, where do their families stay? Hotels can be costly, and don’t always have the most comforting atmosphere. Responding to that need, Zachary Fisher built the first Fisher House. The Fisher family and Fisher House Foundation have built nearly 100 Fisher Houses around the world at military and VA medical centers. These facilities provide the families of military personnel and Veterans with a home away from home where they can stay, free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. They’re usually within walking distance of the treatment facility, and are designed to feel like home, with common kitchens, laundry facilities, living and dining rooms, and toys for children.
— James Scalzitti

Hines Fisher House
Hines Fisher House has accommodated more than 3,000 guests since it opened its doors on March 1, 2010. It contains 20 bedroom suites, a fully-stocked kitchen, a spacious dining room, and several common living room areas for families to gather while their loved ones are hospitalized at Hines. The Hines Fisher House depends on donations of goods and supplies from individuals and groups to support its programs and guests.

Independence for Veterans
One of the saddest things to see in life is a homeless Veteran. Protecting our freedoms in all types of conditions and hardships, they shouldn’t have to live on the streets when they return home. Independence for Veterans is a non-profit agency that depends on donations and fundraising events, using proceeds to construct “tiny homes” for homeless Veterans at no cost to them. Other activities include golf outing fundraisers, clothing and food drives, and suicide prevention awareness.
— Felicia Reilly

New Horizons
New Horizons Transitional Living is a program of Veterans Path to Hope, a non-profit agency that assists Veterans and their families with material, emotional and physical needs. Transitional living is open to 20 Veterans at a time who have been honorably discharged or had a bad conduct discharge from a special court-martial, are homeless or imminently homeless, and participate in an intake interview with the New Horizons clinical team. Veterans Path to Hope also helps Veterans transition to permanent housing by providing employment, financial planning and legal services; assistance with applying for VA and other benefits; and access to a food pantry. Counseling, recovery support and housing identification are also offered.
— Felicia Reilly

Purple Heart Homes
Purple Heart Homes provides housing solutions for service-connected disabled and aging veterans. The charity assists Veterans through monetary donations and the efforts of volunteers from the building trades who donate materials and services.  Purple Heart offers two programs, Veterans Aging in Place, which provides modifications, renovations and repairs to existing homes, and the Veterans Home Ownership Program, which helps veterans buy homes. While Veterans put up some money to participate in these programs, loans and grants are available for assistance. A Purple Heart is not required to participate in either program, but Veterans must have at least a 10 percent service-connected disability rating from the VA to participate.
— Felicia Reilly

Tunnel to Towers Foundation
Founded in honor of New York Firefighter Stephen Siller, who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation assists Veterans and first responders, their families, and Gold Star Families. The organization has raised more than half a billion dollars, educated more than half a million people through its 9/11 Never Forget mobile exhibit, and delivered more than 600 mortgage-free homes to Veterans who have suffered catastrophic injuries during their service. The homes are adaptive, accessible and equipped with smart technology, including voice activation. Funds are raised through donations, a 5K Run and Walk in New York City, car donations, and a Tower Climb at One World Trade Center.
— Felicia Reilly

Veterans Build
A project of Habitat for Humanity, Veterans Build creates volunteer opportunities for Veterans and assists them with home ownership, home improvement and repairs, and employment. Many Veterans returning to civilian life face financial challenges and some struggle with disabilities and single-parent households. Veterans Build helps them find affordable housing while Veterans and their family members and friends volunteer their building, rehab, carpentry, painting, electrical, plumbing and other skills to prepare the homes to be lived in. The organization also provides education for home ownership and holds events to honor Veterans.
— Felicia Reilly


Army Review Boards Agency
Veterans whose discharge was other than honorable and who believe that their discharge status was influenced by behavior caused by PTSD or similar disorders may appeal their discharge status to the Army Review Boards Agency. The ARBA administers the review of cases of personnel actions taken by lower levels of the Army. The Agency also reviews cases related to the correction of military records, discharges, grade determinations, active duty, physical disabilities and disability ratings, clemency and parole, suitability evaluation and conscientious objection.
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN)
The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) operates a statewide legal assistance hotline and coordinates a network of legal support services at no charge to military personnel, veterans and their families. Member organizations include Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, the John Marshall Law School and Legal Aid Chicago. Affiliated organizations include Catholic Charities, the Legal Aid Society and the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. To speak to an IL-AFLAN attorney, call 855-452-3526. Make sure to have the necessary documents when you call.  Wait times average five minutes and won’t exceed 10.
— James Scalzitti

Veterans’ Legal Aid Society
The Veterans’ Legal Aid Society offers Illinois veterans and their families who are below poverty level equal access to justice. VLAS provides pro-bono help for veterans filing VA pension applications and appeals and has a referral network of qualified attorneys in various areas of law. VLAS supports veteran’s legal aid programs and assists in the management of an OBRA Trust to benefit qualified candidates. Assistance applications and more information are available online.


Father Capodanno Guild
There are chapels, streets and buildings in the U.S. and Italy named for the Rev. Vincent R. Capodanno, MM, not to mention a U.S. Navy ship. A Navy chaplain, Fr. Capodanno was killed in action during the Vietnam War while anointing and aiding U.S. Marines in combat with the North Vietnamese army. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1969, and a campaign has been launched to have Fr. Capodanno recognized as a saint. The Father Vincent Capodanno Guild, a private Catholic Church association and non-profit corporation, promotes the Cause for Canonization of Fr. Capodanno and celebrates his life. A biography of Fr. Capodanno and holy cards are available at the site, along with a schedule of events and donation options.
— James Scalzitti
For a profile of Fr. Capodanno, click here.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1958. Membership is comprised of recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for valor. The society’s website provides a searchable database of biographies of all Medal of Honor recipients; Medal of Honor history, statistics, design, and standards for awarding the medal; free ‘Medal of Honor Character Development Program’ curriculum for elementary and secondary educators; and a program to nominate citizens for bravery. Books; a living history program; and a museum, library and archives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, preserve the history of the recipients’ bravery. Recipients may be contacted through the society to arrange for participation in talks and presentations.
— Felicia Reilly


American Battlefield Trust
The American Battlefield Trust works to preserve U.S. battlefields from the colonial days through the Civil War. These historic grounds are increasingly threatened by development, erosion, neglect and ignorance of the sites’ importance. The Trust engages in historical presentations to the public, history teachers and students, and operates a publishing program that includes a magazine, educator resources, Civil War curriculum and detailed maps of the battlefields. Their website explores key battles, lists heritage sites that can be visited and offers virtual tours of battlefields.
— Felicia Reilly

American Legion Memorials Database
The American Legion Memorials Database gathers and presents information on U.S. war, military and Veterans memorials around the world. Searchable by keyword and/or location, each entry contains the name of the memorial, its location, a photo and details about the memorial, such as who it honors, who sponsored/placed it, the artist/creator and other facts. Members of the public may add memorials to the database through the website, following easy instructions that guide the uploading of photos and text.
— Felicia Reilly

First Division Museum at Cantigny Park
The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park is on the estate of Robert R. McCormick, a Veteran of WW I and later owner and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Attaining the rank of colonel, McCormick served in the First Division in France, taking part in the capture of Cantigny, after which he named his estate. The estate was turned into a museum after McCormick’s death, in accordance with his will. The museum’s extensive main exhibit covers the division’s career from World War I to the Vietnam War, and includes weapons, uniforms and realistic depictions of trenches topped with sandbags and bunkers with command centers. Rotating exhibits have included “Nuremburg: Nazi Germany on Trial” and recent presentations have focused on code talkers, combat canines, military medals and the evolution of helmets. Several tanks are on display in the grounds surrounding the museum.
— Felicia Reilly

Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation is spearheading the creation of a memorial to the armed forces members, Veterans, civilians and their families who have participated in the decades-long war against terror around the world. Planned for the National Mall near other war memorials in Washington, D.C., the monument will provide a place to honor, remember and emotionally heal those affected by this ongoing war. More than 7,000 U.S. service members have perished in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, as have 3,400-plus non-uniformed personnel. The memorial is being planned, designed and built with funds from private donors, with no federal funds being used.
— Felicia Reilly

Grissom Air Museum
The Grissom Air Museum is located in Peru, Indiana, about 80 miles north of Indianapolis, on the grounds of the Grissom Air Reserve Base. The museum and base are named after Virgil “Gus” Grissom, an Indiana-native, U.S. Air Force pilot and astronaut who tragically perished with two others in a 1967 fire during a pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission. The indoor and outdoor museum showcases 24 military aircraft. Visitors can enter a cockpit, climb a guard tower that was used during the Cold War and virtually take off in an airplane flight simulator.
— Felicia Reilly

Operated by the National Archives, HistoryHub allows researchers to submit questions to and receive answers from National Archives staff, as well as fellow researchers who may have information on the topic. Their Military Records component offers access to a worldwide online community of military researchers who post questions and share information with each other. The site can be searched to find out if questions have already been asked and answered.
— Felicia Reilly

Korean War Educator
The Korean War Educator website is dedicated to American Veterans and their allies who served from 1950-1953 to free South Korea from North Korean aggression, and those who have continued to serve in Korea since the cease-fire. This site honors the sacrifices of the wounded and dead of the Korean War, often called “The Forgotten War.” History and memoirs are featured, along with information about war memorials, Veterans organizations and reunions. A Korean War MIA Family Outreach Project can be accessed from the site.
— Felicia Reilly

Korean War Legacy Project
The Korean War Legacy Project educates teachers, students, and the general public about the Korean War. This “Forgotten War” is often overshadowed or overlooked in textbooks. A key component of the website is the online Interview Archive containing interviews with actual Korean War Veterans who give compelling accounts of their bravery and sacrifices. Korean War Veterans are encouraged to contact the KWLP to be interviewed to preserve their stories and history. Sadly, we are losing Korean War Veterans daily.  Other parts of the website include information about films and art about the war, detailed history including maps and UN participation information, curriculum resources, opportunities and conferences for teachers and those interested in the Korean War, and an overview video about the organization’s library, archives, online materials and activities.
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois State Military Museum
The Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, Illinois, highlights the bravery of the Illinois National Guard and Illinois Veterans. Military equipment, photographs, uniforms, vehicles and weapons are displayed. The exploits and careers of Illinois Veterans are featured, including those of Ulysses S. Grant, John A. Logan, Robert McCormick, Carl Sandburg and Abraham Lincoln. Among the memorabilia is a practice target board used by Lincoln. Open afternoons Tuesdays through Saturdays, admission is free.
— Felicia Reilly

Illinois Veterans History Project
The Illinois Veterans History Project was started by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to establish a permanent record of the heroic experiences of Illinois Veterans and civilians who served their state and country during times of war. Participants start by filling out an Illinois Patriot Information form, which gathers facts and recollections related to their service to their country. Participants can also submit an oral history that will be placed in the Illinois Digital Archives and the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
— Felicia Reilly

National Museum of Civil Defense
The National Museum of Civil Defense is located in Schertz, Texas, south of Randolph Air Force Base. Private tours are by appointment only. Civil Defense consists of “plans or activities organized by civilians and civilian authorities for the protection of civilian population and property in times of such disasters or emergencies as war or floods.” The Office of Civil Defense was established in 1941 to protect the public from catastrophes. Known especially for its readiness and resources during the Cold War, in recent years it has focused on “Emergency Management,” educating the public and assisting them when these disasters occur. The museum exhibits profile the work of the thousands of people in this agency who devoted their lives to protecting the public. Their website has numerous digital resources on the topic.
— Felicia Reilly

National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum
The National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum is being created in Jacksonville, Florida. Its mission is “to ensure a future that embraces, honors, educates and celebrates with respect to America’s Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Service Members.” Located on 26 acres at the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field,  the facility will educate the public through exhibits, videos, artifacts and memorabilia. A military chapel is now open. Other features include a serene ‘Heroes’ Walk and Freedom Trees’ area, initiated by an MIA military spouse who was also instrumental in developing the official POW/MIA flag. Included on the grounds are a Gold Star Families Memorial and a park for remembrance and reflection.
— Felicia Reilly

Naval Air Station Museum
The Naval Air Station Museum in Glenview, Illinois, is operated by the Hangar One Foundation and honors the legacy of Naval Air Station Glenview and Glenview civilian aviation. NASG was critical to the defense of the U.S. and its allies throughout WW II and until the station’s closing in 1995. Open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the museum features a number of historical aircraft on static display as well as artifacts, uniforms, photos and more. The website covers the entire gamut of Glenview’s civilian and military aviation history.
— Felicia Reilly

National Museum of the American Sailor
The National Museum of the American Sailor is located at 2531 Sheridan Road, next to Gate 1 of Naval Station Great Lakes. Its mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the history of the United States Navy’s enlisted sailor for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and the people of the United States. The museum has standing and rotating exhibits, hosts live and online presentations, sponsors a monthly video podcast and gathers oral histories. It also collects artifacts and archival material, including uniforms, weapons, equipment, flags, photographs, scrapbooks, pamphlets and newspapers.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library is located in downtown Chicago. Among the many items on permanent display are all three Medals of Honor: Army, Navy and Air Force. Rotating exhibits have featured the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, women in WW II service organizations and Navy SEALS. The museum produces a number of broadcast programs, including “Citizen Soldier” which airs on public television and explores military affairs, history and policy through interviews and panel discussions with authors, military personnel and scholars. An oral history program preserves the stories of Veterans during their time in service. Archived online programs include “Island Hopping in the Pacific Theater” and “Victory Begins at Home.” A 65,000-volume library, archives and special collections are available for research. In-person programs are hosted weekly, including book presentations, lectures by military personnel and movie screenings.
— Felicia Reilly


Bugles Across America
Some 20 years ago, Congress passed legislation that saw to it that deceased Veterans would have at least two uniformed military personnel to fold the flag and play a recorded version of Taps at their funerals. Wanting to take that a step further, Tom Day founded Bugles Across America to provide live Taps free of charge for every deceased Veteran. The organization now has more than 4,000 volunteer buglers in all 50 states. But with more than a half-million Veterans expected to pass away every year for the next seven years, new buglers are needed to swell the ranks.
— James Scalzitti

Honor Flight Chicago
Honor Flight Chicago hasn’t flown a veteran to Washington, D.C. since early 2020, but the group has kept busy. They created yard signs and window decals publicly thanking our Veterans, and hundreds of volunteers made safe, socially distant hand deliveries to more than 4,000 homes. And Honor Flight Chicago WILL fly again. As soon as protocols allow, the organization will return to honoring America’s senior Veterans with all-expense paid, one-of-a-kind journeys to the nation’s capital for a day of thanks and inspiration. In addition to the flights, HFC works to keep the stories of the sacrifices and experiences of our Veterans strong by sharing their memories via podcast, in their video library, and on their website.
— James Scalzitti

True Patriots Care
True Patriots Care recognizes and supports those who have served their communities as first responders and members of the military through the installation of flag tributes and the presentation of honor walls. Past tributes have honored Silver and Gold Star recipients, World War II and Korean War veterans, and victims of the 9/11 attacks. The organization strives to unite communities, promote awareness of the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes, and help hearts heal.
— James Scalzitti

Wreaths Across America
Every year on Dec. 18, Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and more than 2,100 additional locations nationwide on National Wreaths Across America Day. Why December 18? Because the week before Christmas isn’t traditionally thought of as a time of remembrance, and holidays can be particularly challenging for the families of loved ones who gave their lives in service to their country. A $15 sponsorship goes toward a live, balsam wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero on Dec. 18 as Wreaths Across America honors all Veterans who have been laid to rest.
— James Scalzitti


Warriors to Lourdes
During World War II, members of the French military visited the site of St. Bernadette’s apparitions in Lourdes, offering prayers for peace. In December of 1944, U.S. military personnel joined British, Belgian, French and Russian military representatives for a Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. After the War, French soldiers and their chaplains invited German soldiers and their chaplains to gather to pray together. The purpose of this initiative was to heal physical, emotional and spiritual wounds and to reconcile the past between these former adversaries by recognizing their common identity as Christians in search of peace. Today, the International Military Pilgrimage continues to take place for one weekend each May, drawing active-duty members and veterans from over 40 nations.
— Eugene Giudice

Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope Saint John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 nations. The AMS counts more than 1.8 million men, women and children among its flock.
— Eugene Giudice


American Legion
American Legion membership is open to honorably discharged Veterans of federal military service who served from Dec. 7, 1941 to the present, as well as those on current active duty. The Veterans Administration and the GI Bill owe their existence to the Legion. Scholarships and programs for youth and financial assistance to Veterans and their families is offered. Operation Comfort Warriors meets the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel. Membership benefits include help in obtaining benefits, employment and education assistance, health care assistance, support and services to military personnel and their families during service and after, and services to women Veterans, especially advocating for gender-specific health care and working to end Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
— Felicia Reilly

American Veterans (AMVETS)
American Veterans, also known as AMVETS, has been serving Veterans since 1944. Membership is open to honorably discharged Veterans and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves. AMVETS assists Veterans with VA claims, benefits and services; offers them career help, discounts, business promotion, scholarships, military funeral honors; helps Veterans in need; sponsors youth programs; offers assistance to women Veterans; and advocates for Veterans rights. AMVETS gathers and sells donated items online and at thrift stores around the country for the benefit of Veterans and the community at large.
— Felicia Reilly

Blinded Veterans Association
Blinded Veterans Association has been serving blinded Veterans since WW II. Their motto is “Blinded Veterans Helping Blinded Veterans.” This congressionally chartered, nonprofit organization provides assistance and advocates on behalf of Veterans and their families coping with sight loss.  Membership is open to all legally blind Veterans of U.S. military service. Their blindness does not have to be combat-related, nor do members have to have had lost their vision while on active duty. Some membership perks include free benefits assistance, scholarships and quarterly publications. A national convention is held annually, while regional groups and chapters provide needed fellowship. Membership categories include Service-Connected Life Membership for members whose vision loss resulted from military service;  Associate Life Membership for members whose vision loss resulted after military service; and Complimentary Honorary Life Membership for members who served during WW II.
— Felicia Reilly

Catholic War Veterans
Founded in 1935, the Catholic War Veterans of the USA and Auxiliary advocate for and support all Veterans, their families, and communities through fellowship, charitable activities, and Veteran services. Congressionally chartered and blessed by Pope Pius XI, the CWV originally worked for the good and welfare of our nation and to ease the burdens of Veterans, their widows and their orphans. While that’s still true today, the Catholic War Veterans has expanded their reach, assisting the poor, sponsoring educational and recreational opportunities for children and families, being an advocate for legislation affecting Veterans, and providing assistance to all Veterans in applying for benefits they’ve earned and deserve. Post members regularly visit VA Hospitals and their faith life is enriched through masses and fellowship.
— Felicia Reilly

Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans welcomes those who served in the armed forces during a period of war or under conditions simulating war, and were wounded, disabled to any degree, or left with long-term illness as a result of military service, and were discharged or retired from military service under honorable conditions. DAV helps its members by linking them with services that address their physical, emotional, and financial needs; providing free, professional assistance in obtaining VA and other government benefits earned through service; fighting for Veterans’ rights on Capitol Hill; linking Veterans to job training and job assistance programs; and funding rehabilitation programs for Veterans with severe disabilities.

Korean War Veterans Association
The Korean War Veterans Association welcomes Korea Veterans of all eras as full members and Non-Korea Veterans as associate nembers. The KWVA provides communication to Veterans who served in Korea, creates opportunities for Korea Veterans to gather, establishes memorials to those who served in the Korean War, and assists needy members and their families as well as widows and orphans of members. Their official magazine, The Graybeards, is published six times a year. The magazine as well as the organization’s newsletter and website features news items, military history, POW/MIA updates, book reviews, reunion notices, Veterans’ memoirs and other information.  Local chapters are active around the country and an annual national convention is held.
— Felicia Reilly

Sheridan’s Chapter First Cavalry Division
Sheridan’s Chapter First Cavalry Division is the Illinois Chapter of the 1st Cavalry Division Association. The 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army was formed in 1921 and has served with distinction ever since. One of the Army’s most decorated Divisions, the “1st Cav” suffered more casualties than any other Army Division in the Vietnam War, with 5,444 killed and 26,592 wounded. Full membership to the 1st Cavalry Division Association is open to those who served in the Division and associate membership is available to those who did not.  Meetings and reunions are held for members to re-connect, socialize and stay informed. A newsletter is published by the national organization, which is headquartered in Copperas Cove, Texas. The history of the Division, chapter information and programs can be found on the website.
— Felicia Reilly

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was founded in 1881 and was chartered by Congress in 1954. A successor to the Grand Army of the Republic, this fraternal organization works to preserve the history and legacy of those who fought to save the Union during the Civil War. The organization is located at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Two types of membership are available: hereditary members, who are direct descendants of those who served honorably in the Civil War, and associate members, who do not have the required ancestry but wish to join the fraternity. The organization works for monument, memorial and grave preservation; participates in education by providing resources to teachers and students; offers awards to ROTC members and Eagle Scouts; and hosts annual encampments.
— Felicia Reilly

Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is open to U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and are either honorably discharged or currently serving. They must be serving in or have served in a war, campaign or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters. Veterans are assisted with filing or appealing VA claims and applying for separation benefits, financial grants and emergency financial relief, student Veteran support and scholarships and mental wellness initiatives. The VFW lobbies Congress and the administration regarding Veterans’ needs and issues. Member benefits include discounts, insurance, financial services, publications, medical services savings and civilian life transitioning. Women Veterans issues and VA health care are closely monitored.
— Felicia Reilly

Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America was formed in the late 1970s in response to neglect and indifference to Veterans of the Vietnam War. Membership is open to all Veterans who served during the Vietnam Era. The VVA offers Veterans claims assistance and financial advice and advocates on their behalf through legislative initiatives. They provide outreach programs to all Veterans in need regarding Agent Orange, homelessness, PTSD and substance abuse, educational advancement, POW/MIA, incarceration and more. They produce several publications that keep their members informed and spotlight the way Vietnam Veterans and the Vietnam War are portrayed in movies, television, music, books and fine arts. Local posts and an annual convention keep members connected.
— Felicia Reilly


100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans
Headquartered in Frankfort, Illinois, 100 Pretty Purses for Female Veterans provides dignity, love and respect to all female service members, both past and present.  An annual event during the Christmas season provides gifts of thousands of purses filled with much-needed items, including toiletries, gifts and gift cards, as well as dinner and entertainment. A Back to School Book Bag Giveaway provides hundreds of book bags filled with school supplies and other items.
— Felicia Reilly

Top Flight Defense Inc.
Founded by women Veterans, Top Flight Defense Inc. serves the needs of women Veterans from all branches of the military. The organization also encourages and empowers women Veterans to use the skills they received during their service to have an impact on and improve their communities. Health awareness is one of their main goals, with breast cancer, mental health, and vision and eye care webinars recently presented and available on their website. Classes and seminars are offered on self-defense, human trafficking and domestic violence prevention, social security and retirement among other topics. Top Flight Defense Inc. also builds connections between women Veterans and government offices, educational institutions, businesses and other organizations through special projects and events.
— Felicia Reilly

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