SPRINGFIELD –The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has honored Bradley Allen Lavite, a Wood River resident and US Army veteran, as its December 2012 “Veteran of the Month.”
Lavite was honored during a ceremony today at Madison County Administration Building in Edwardsville, Ill. The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction bestowed upon military veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military.
“Bradley Lavite not only served his country honorably, he has been tireless in his efforts to assist fellow veterans here in southwestern Illinois,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “He has been a true leader for Madison County veterans, advocating for better access to health care, employment, and legal assistance.”
Lavite has held many positions during his 17-year military career, including service from 2003 to 2004 as a First Lieutenant and Convoy Commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II with the 459th Transportation Company. Today, he continues his service in the US Army Reserves as Captain and Company Commander for Alpha Company 2-334th Infantry Battalion in Granite City, Ill.
Lavite’s personal and professional achievements include:
· For his military service, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal With Valor, Combat Action Badge, Army Achievement Medal (3rd Award), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, and Army Service Ribbon.
· In the veteran community, Lavite has continued to serve his country and community in various leadership capacities, including as Superintendent of the Veterans’ Assistance Commission of Madison County helping local veterans with emergency financial assistance, employment, and casework advocacy.
Ø Thanks to his efforts, Madison County created a successful Veterans’ Treatment Court (VTC), through which nearly 230 veterans have been screened with almost half formally enrolling and 40 successfully completing the program;
Ø Lavite also improved the outreach to homeless veterans by increasing coordination between local, state and federal programs;
Ø He helped establish the VAC DAV Transportation Network for veterans who need rides to and from the St. Louis VAMC for medical treatment, while also requesting a feasibility study for a possible Madison County outpatient clinic for veterans; and,
Ø Lavite has led an initiative to create several volunteer groups including the Veterans’ Graves Restoration Project to identify and document veterans’ grave markers in the county that may be in need of repair and replacement.
About Veteran of the Month
The “Veteran of the Month” award highlights the work of community servants who are also military veterans. Each month the Department recognizes a different person or group that contributes to the betterment of communities across the state of Illinois. To nominate a “Veteran of the Month,” please visit IDVA’s website at veterans.illinois.gov
to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.
About Public Pension Squeeze
IDVA is the state agency missioned to serving veterans, their families, and their survivors. IDVA accomplishes this through its four Veterans’ Homes, its 70-plus Veteran Service Offices, and its special projects and partnerships to address emerging issues like veteran unemployment and PTSD. Unfortunately, like all state agencies, IDVA is threatened by Illinois’ pension crisis. In a time like this, the pension issue is a veterans issue! To learn more and join the grassroots movement to fix the pension crisis this legislative session, visit www.ThisIsMyIllinois.com.