CHICAGO – In conjunction with African-American History Month, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today honored African-American Veterans in Illinois for their dedicated military service, and named retired U.S. Army Col. Eugene F. Scott, president of the Chicago Defender Charities, as the February 2010 Veteran of the Month.
Governor Pat Quinn also issued a proclamation declaring today as African American Veterans Recognition Day in Illinois.
“Every day we should give thanks to the men and women who bravely stepped forward and answered the call to duty when this nation needed them, even as they often faced segregation, bigotry and injustice within their own ranks,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant. “During this month and always, we must recognize the contributions of African-American Veterans who honorably served to protect and expand the very freedoms we all enjoy today.”
State Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), vice-chair of the state’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, presented Governor Quinn’s proclamation declaring Feb. 1, 2010 as African American Veterans Recognition Day in Illinois at the ceremony, which was held in the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago.
“Governor Quinn and the State of Illinois are proud to recognize the great sacrifices and accomplishments of African-American Veterans,” said Sen. Hutchinson. “Their contributions to our state and our nation will never be forgotten.”
Director Grant presented the February 2010 Veteran of the Month Award to retired U.S. Army Col. Eugene F. Scott, former publisher of the Chicago Defender newspaper. Scott is president of the Chicago Defender Charities, which provides educational and cultural programming, including the world-famous Bud Billiken Parade.
Scott served in the U.S. Army from 1962-1990, earning numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars, among others. He has remained a strong advocate for Veterans in Illinois and nationwide, serving as chairman of the National African-American Military Museum, and working on the boards and committees of other organizations including the Bronzeville Military Academy, Illinois Military Flags Association, Giles Post #87 and the Illinois Secretary of State’s Veterans Advisory Committee.
“Col. Scott has been a true friend to Illinois veterans and an important voice in advocating for the recognition of African-American veterans,” Grant said. “He distinguished himself through nearly three decades of service to the United States Army, and continues to serve veterans in Cook County and nationwide through numerous organizations.”
ABC7Chicago sports anchor Jim Rose, an Army veteran who began his sports broadcasting career while serving in West Germany, served as Master of Ceremonies.
The “Veteran of the Month” award highlights the work of community activists 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 or call IDVA at (312) 814-5538 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.