Life Amplified

Veterans Commission

The purpose of the Veterans Commission is to recognize the contributions of Tinley Park residents who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States; to assist veterans in preserving their rights in obtaining benefits from various governmental agencies by cooperating with the agencies for the benefit of the veterans; and to educate the citizenry as to the accomplishments and contributions of veterans.


Chairperson
Dr. W. Douglas Rasmussen III, D.C.

Members
Norm Pestlin
Jim Hudik
Karen Tobola
Jimmy Hunter
Georges Sanon
Chris Hansley, V.F.W. Auxiliary President
Don Tomich, Commandant of Marine Corps League 1217 Kevin Clarke Detachment
Robert Bullard, Chicago Base U.S. Submarine Veterans
Denise Houdek
John Houdek
William McNellis (Ex-Officio – Amer. Legion, Commander)
Fred Cagle (Ex-Officio – VFW, Commander)

Associate Members
John Maher
Ken Wrezzes

Commission Secretary
Roxane Tyssen

Staff Liaison
Pat Carr

Board Liaison
Trustee Colleen Sullivan


Monthly Meetings
The Veterans Commission meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month except for June and July in the Kallsen Center at Tinley Park Village Hall, 16250 S. Oak Park Ave. Agendas, minutes and meeting presentations are posted on the Village website.


Veterans dedication ceremony now showing
The Village of Tinley Park and the Tinley Park Veterans Commission recently hosted a dedication ceremony for the Illinois Veterans of America Memorial and the M84 Mortar Carrier at the Gen. Patrick E. Rea Veterans Plaza. The ceremony features music by the 484th Army Band from Arlington Heights, comments from Veterans Commission Chairman Dr. William Douglas Rasmussen III and Tinley Park Mayor Michael Glotz, and guest speakers Gen. Patrick E. Rea, Combat Engineer Thomas Dukes and Command Sgt. Maj. Fred Cagle. Watch now on the Village's Facebook page!

Vets Dedication 5-15-21

Illinois Veterans of America Memorial
In November 2020, the Village moved the Illinois Veterans of America Memorial from the site of the former Tinley Park Mental Health Center to Veterans Parkway. Staff from Bechstein Construction, a company from Tinley Park, donated their time to move the memorial. This memorial was dedicated on July 4, 1989 by the residents, employees and friends of the William A. Howe Development Center. It was originally conceived and designed by Bill Wilkens, Tom Dukes, Paul Taube and John Early.

The Illinois Veterans of America Memorial
In 1917, WWI Army Capt. Robert Queissner of 5th Ohio Infantry had two sons serving at the front line in WWI.  He designed the blue star flag for them.  The Congressional record in 1917 stated: “The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother is their children.”  Quickly people began  displaying this symbol in their window to designate that a member of their family was serving in the armed forces and it became the unofficial symbol of a child in service. Fast forward. The country fully supported our troops during WWII however, during the Korean and Vietnam wars, the display of the blue star flag in windows virtually disappeared. The flags appeared again during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the Iraq War and the War on Terror.   
 
The blue star represents that a family has one member currently serving in the U.S. military.  It signifies hope and pride. The gold star represents a family with a member who made the ultimate sacrifice, that of losing their life while serving in the U.S. military. The gold star signifies sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom.  A flag that displays multiple stars means there is more than one member of the family serving. 
 
Former Veterans Commission Chairman Major Wiley Roberts, USAFR (ret) had a vision when Tinley Park’s blue gold star memorial was created. The placement of the blue star was intended to be closest to the train station representing the volunteer soldier leaving his home to serve in the armed forces.  The gold star is placed closest to the downtown of the Village of Tinley Park, representing the fallen soldier returning home to a community that honors his service and ultimate sacrifice of his life.   
 
The Illinois Veterans of America Memorial is like a crown jewel, a keystone supporting the archway of an entrance to the parkway. It was created in granite to stand in unwavering perpetuity flanked by three arborvitae evergreens on each side representing the six branches of the military. The placement of these trees signifies the strength and solidarity of our young volunteer persons who presently serve and those who continue to extend their initial voluntary service for several years to preserve our way of living in freedom and finally to those who have served and keep the commitment that our military shall never be forgotten. 


M84 Mortar Carrier display
Watch as the Tinley Park Veterans Commission installs the brand-new M84 Mortar Carrier display near Veterans Plaza in August, 2020.



Veterans Banner Program
The Village of Tinley Park's Veterans Commission has a Veterans Banner Program, available to honor any individual who is a current or former resident of Tinley Park and has served, or is currently serving, in any branch of the service or is affiliated with any Village veteran organization. Banners honor local veterans by featuring their likeness, name, branch of the military and years of service. Banners cost $150 each and will be displayed in Veterans Plaza and along Timber Drive annually from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. Applications will be due every year on May 1. Banners will be 30 inches wide and 60 inches tall, printed on both sides. Read the Veterans Banner Program Application for submission guidelines or to order a banner for the veteran in your life. Applications are available at Village Hall, V.F.W. Post 2791 and American Legion Post 615.

Paver Brick Program 
Friends and family of those in the Armed Forces can honor their heroes by purchasing bricks bearing personalized inscriptions that recognize the military person's service to our country. These bricks are incorporated into the walkway at the Gen. Patrick E. Rea Veterans Plaza, which sits adjacent to the south entrance of the 80th Avenue Metra train station, 18001 S. 80th Ave., Tinley Park. Residents who are interested in purchasing a brick can fill out a Brick Paver Program application. The program is open to any individual who is a current or former resident of Tinley Park and has served, or is currently serving, in any branch of the service or is affiliated with any Village veteran organization. Applications are available at Village Hall, V.F.W. Post 2791 and American Legion Post 615.


American flags honor veterans
Each month a new American flag is flown on the Village flagpole near the Oak Park Avenue train station at Zabrocki Plaza in memory of a deceased Tinley Park resident who has served our country. Each flag has previously been flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. After being flown for a month, it is taken down and presented to the family along with a framed certificate. Residents who are interested in the program can fill out a Flag Request Form

 Local Veterans Groups

American Legion Post 615
17423 S. 67th Court
(708) 532-1737
www.post615.com

Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) Post 2791
17147 S. Oak Park Ave.
(708) 532-2333
www.vfw2791.org

Korean War Veterans Association
South Suburban Chapter 23
17211 S. Odell Ave.
(708) 532-5950
http://kwva.us

Marine Corp League
Kevin Clarke - Detachment 1217
17147 S. Oak Park Ave.
(708) 614-6093
www.mclnational.org


For information on auxiliary and motorcycle units contact the corresponding veterans group.


Additional Resources Veteran Employment Opportunities