GLASFORD – Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Dan Grant today named lifelong Illinoisan Don Uphoff as the State of Illinois’ March, 2009 “Veteran of the Month” for his unwavering dedication to the state’s Veterans and the safety and well-being of the members of his 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. Uphoff was honored with the prestigious award this afternoon during a special ceremony at the American Legion Post 35 in Glasford.
“Don Uphoff not only served his country in uniform, but he continued to serve the members of his community and his fellow comrades for many years after his military service was complete. I am extremely proud that today we honor and thank Don for his service by presenting him with the State of Illinois’ March ‘Veteran of the Month’ award,” said IDVA Director Dan Grant.
Uphoff proudly and honorably served in the United States Army from 1951-1957, serving two years on Active Duty and four years in the Reserves. He was mainly stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
After returning home from military service, Uphoff continued to serve his country in a different uniform. For more than 22 years, Uphoff served as a fire fighter for the Timber-Hollis Volunteer Fire Department, and even served as Assistant Fire Chief.
In 1999, Uphoff decided the local communities should do more to honor those who died in service to our country. So he began a plan to establish memorials for the fallen in Glasford, Kingston Mines, and Mapleton. Uphoff approached the local Mayors about the project, received their permission, and began his project. For months, Uphoff worked extremely hard, approaching business leaders, community members, boards, legion members, and anyone who wished to donate to or help with the project. After two years, Uphoff’s project was completed and Glasford, Kingston Mines, and Mapleton each had their own memorials with the names and dates of the fallen service men and women from their community.
Uphoff also began a tradition for the American Legion Post 35. Every year on Memorial Day, the Post specially honors one of the local fallen service members and their family as a way to ensure them that their loved one’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Uphoff believed that the local communities should always honor our military heroes, not just on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. So every year in May, Uphoff helps to place new American Flags on Main Street in Glasford, Kingston Mines, and Mapleton as a way to display patriotism and thank those who defended our freedoms.
He helped to establish the local Veterans’ Day parade. Uphoff worked with the local school system to get the students not only involved in the parade, but also to teach them more about our nation’s history and the fight for freedom and democracy. The Veterans’ Day parade is a huge success with all the students and teachers marching with floats, bands, service members and Veterans.
Uphoff is also greatly involved in the religious community. For years, he served as a Council Member and Church Board member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Glasford. With the Church, he has dedicated numerous hours volunteering for various activities.
In the 1950s, Uphoff served as Trustee for the Glasford Village Board for ten years. He also served as the Treasurer for two years. He is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Glasford Telephone Company and has served on its Board for several years.
Uphoff is a loyal member of the American Legion. He is past Commander of the American Legion Post 35 and currently serves as Finance Officer and Veterans Memorial Chairman for the Post. Uphoff also is a proud member of the Korean War Veterans Association.
Born on February 7, 1931, Uphoff has lived in Peoria County all his life. He is married, a proud father of two and grandfather of three.
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.