SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) today honored Vietnam War Veteran and Purple Heart Awardee Dennis Thompson, a United States Marine veteran, as April 2011 Veteran of the Month during a ceremony at an Executive Committee Meeting of the Disabled American Veterans service organization in Springfield.
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 Thompson, 64, of Alsip, a Chicago suburb.
Thompson, a retired Santa Fe Railroad supervisor, was honored for his service and advocacy on behalf of disabled and homeless veterans, and also for his support of servicemembers currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thompson is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and serves as an Honor Guard with the DAV. He is also an active participant in Stand Down events in the Chicago area, which provide essential support services for homeless veterans.
Thompson also regularly attends the DAV’s Mid-Winter Conference where presents the organization’s legislative agenda on veterans’ rights to members of Congress. Thompson is also an active participant in Operation Save our Troops of Illinois (OSOTIL), which sends hundreds of care packages to servicemembers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and provides support for wounded service members recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
Additionally, among Thompson’s many other honors as a veteran advocate, he was named 2010 “Person of the Year” by the Illinois Combined Veterans Association.
“Dennis is one of our most willing members who will always help out the Department,” said Alfred Reynolds, a fellow DAV member who nominated Thompson for Veteran of the Month. “We always know we can trust him to honorably represent our organization. He served our country as a Marine and continues to serve each day.”
Thompson served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966-1967 and earned numerous awards for his during the Vietnam War, including the Purple Heart Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.
“Dennis Thompson is the epitome of the type of service and advocacy for Illinois Veterans we are always proud to honor,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant. “He is a role model for all of us – veteran and civilian – on how effective we can be and how great a difference we can make when we choose to serve the people in our communities.”