NORTH CHICAGO – Newly appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Dan Grant today named lifelong Illinoisan Jean M. Keehn as the State of Illinois’ February, 2009 “Veteran of the Month” for her service to the nation and her dedication to helping Veterans, the local youth and her community.
The “Veteran of the Month” award is a distinction that is given monthly to military Veterans who give back to their community and continue to serve other Veterans. Keehn was honored with the prestigious award this afternoon during a special ceremony at the North Chicago VA Medical Center.
“Jean Keehn is an exceptional Illinois Veteran, who continues to dedicate her time serving her state and community. She truly has gone above and beyond to care for her fellow comrades and I am so proud that today we honor Jean by presenting her with the State of Illinois’ February ‘Veteran of the Month’ award,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant.
Keehn proudly and honorably served in the United States Coast Guard from 1944-1946. She was on Active Duty in Norfolk, Virginia for most of her time in the service.
When Keehn returned home from her military service, she decided to continue to serve her country and the members of her local community. For 25 years, Keehn was a bookkeeper at the Libertyville Illinois Public Library. She was very active in the Libertyville American Library Association, acting as President twice for the 10th District.
Keehn has spent numerous hours volunteering for the youth in her community. She served as President of the local PTA, was a Girl Scout Leader and Adult Leader Trainer, and was the Financial Officer for the Libertyville Little League. Keehn was a leader, a mentor and friend to many of the young girls in the community, helping them learn the true meaning of service.
Keehn is also greatly involved in the religious community. She has been a devoted Charter member of the First United Church in Libertyville for over 20 years. At the Church, she volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and as a Church board member.
Above all, is Keehn’s dedication to volunteering her time serving the Veteran community. In 1990, Keehn began visiting hospitalized Veterans at the North Chicago VA Medical Center. Since then, she has donated over 20,000 hours of her time visiting those who have served this country. She unselfishly spends her time and energy, even on holidays, to enhance the lives of the wounded or sick. She organizes gift drives for the hospitalized Veterans, especially gifts for female Veterans for Valentines’ Day.
Keehn is a loyal member of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary. She was President of the American Legion Auxiliary at the Unit, District and Division levels. Keehn also served as Finance Officer for the American Legion Auxiliary 10th District for six years. In 2008, she was the District Commander of the American Legion, Department of Illinois 10th District.
In 1950, Keehn served as President of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in Libertyville. Keehn is also a member of the Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) where she helps to make sure that Veterans know their rights, file disability compensation and pension claims through the VA, and get the benefits they are entitled to receive.
Keehn’s volunteer efforts are known throughout the community. In 1995, Keehn was voted by North Shore Magazine as “Volunteer of the Year” and in 2007, Keehn was awarded the Silver Plate from the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs for her superior service to our Veterans.
Jean Keehn was born in Lake Zurich in February 6, 1925. She is a proud mother of two sons and one daughter.
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.