The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) honored the residents, staff and supporters of the Illinois Veterans' Home – Anna for 20 years of service in a 20th Anniversary Event at the Home’s Sensory Garden in a brief event earlier today.
“The Illinois Veterans’ Home at Anna, while our smallest and youngest of our Homes, is clearly an organization with an exceptional staff that cares for our heroes,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Acting Director of the IDVA. “That the staff at Anna has consistently performed to very high standards is apparent to all, and we are greatly honored that our resident veterans and their families place their trust and confidence in us. For our sixty-one current residents, and the three hundred and fifty that preceded them, you’ve made our mission one of honor. Thank you.”
The 20th Anniversary Event included welcoming remarks by IVH-Anna Home Administrator Angela Simmons, who said, “We are happy you are here today to help us celebrate twenty great years of caring for our heroes. This is what makes working here so special – our residents.” Simmons leads a staff of 90 full- and part-time nurses, nursing assistants and other professionals in providing skilled care and support to the Homes residents.
The event, which lasted about an hour included flag honors by Anna Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3455, supported by the Barbershop Quartet for the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Army veteran and Home resident Ken Kohler who served in Korea, and an opening prayer by Marty Spears, a long-time Home staff member, volunteer and veteran.
In addition to remarks by acting Director Garcia, IL State Senator Gary Forby (D–Benton) offered his congratulations and helped recognize Dariel Jordan, one of the veterans residing at the Home with a presentation of his military awards earned during World War II while in the Army. Jordan received the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars for each campaign, World War Two Victory Medal, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button for WWII.
“Our veterans were there for us, and now it’s our turn to be there for them,” said Forby. “And the staff of the Anna Home is certainly doing an excellent job taking care of them.”
During the event, 4 of the Home staff were recognized for 20 years Service in the facility, and were presented plaques, presented by Director Garcia and Ms Simmons. Recognized were:
• Marty Spears - Support Service Worker (housekeeping); volunteer and veteran
• Bonnie Brimm - Restorative Veterans’ Nursing Assistant and AFSCME union steward
• Debbie Holcomb – Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
• John Reeves Sr. - Volunteer Service Coordinator (VSC); he is an Army Desert Storm veteran
John Reeves presented a plaque to the Aumiller family in honor of former Home Activity Director Cecil Aumiller who passed away in 2013. Aumiller was an Army veteran. Donnie Houghland, the Home’s Adjutant offered word of remembrance honoring all who have lived and died at the Home. This was followed by the releasing of 20 red, white, and blue balloons during the playing of Taps and a 21-gun salute to honor of all of the veterans who have passed away that were residents in the IVH- Anna.
IVH - Anna has been home to over 350 veterans since opening in August 1994 as the fourth veterans’ home operated by the State of Illinois. The Home has a 50-bed nursing care capacity and twelve beds in six adjoining apartment-style domiciliary units and is located in the Anna-Jonesboro community in Union County. This modern, single story structure opened in August 1994. Situated on 16 acres, the Home provides skilled nursing care services to eligible veterans. It has an annual budget of over $6 million and supports veterans and their families across southern Illinois.
For additional information, please contact Ryan Yantis, IDVA communication manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-814-0778 or cell 312-520-6958.