WHEATON – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today honored Lombard Marine John Meschi as the December 2010 Veteran of the Month at a ceremony at VFW Post 2164 in Wheaton.
The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction that is given to military Veterans who give back to their community and continue to serve other Veterans. IDVA Director Dan Grant presented the award to Meschi, 66, a retired construction crane operator, and a Veterans’ Assistance Officer and Trustee for the DuPage County Marine Corps League.
As a Marine, Meschi was stationed in the Philippines and in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, earning the Marine Corp Good Conduct Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal among other achievements. He also served another two years in the Reserves.
Meschi, a native of Oak Park, IL who grew up in Lyons, became active with the Marine Corps League in DuPage County following military service, where he has chaired the Toys for Tots program for 12 years. Meschi is credited with substantially increasing toy and monetary donations to Toys for Tots during his tenure, and leveraging relationships with other local organizations to provide additional toys and resources for local children.
Meschi was named Marine of the Year by the Illinois Marine Corps League in 1996 and 2001, and was honored by the USO of Illinois for his work on behalf of Toys for Tots.
“Marine Meschi served his country with honor and has continued to serve his community honorably by helping children in need through the Toys for Tots program,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant. “He is an asset to all he has served in DuPage County and statewide through the Marine Corps League.”
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 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.