Village Holds Community Celebration Honoring Veterans


Iraq War Veteran DeShaun Smith addresses the Community Celebration honoring veterans last Monday in the board room. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Village of Park Forest honored veterans last Monday evening with a community celebration in the board room. The ceremony began as members of the Bloom High School ROTC posted colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by students from St. Mary School in Park Forest, followed by a prayer for the military by St. Mary’s pastor Father Jim Schwab.

Alyssa Cox of the First Apostolic Church of Steger sang. Senior Trustee Ken Kramer read a proclamation honoring veterans. Village Manager Tom Mick, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and a former Marine, spoke and encouraged residents to thank service men and women they may run into throughout the community or by chance while shopping.

DeShaun Smith of the U.S. Marine Corps shared personal thoughts on Veterans Day. Smith, a long-time friend of Assistant to the Village Manager Denyse Carreras, served in Iraq. Smith is a Park Forest resident who graduated from Rich East High School.

Carreras also offered thanks to organizers of the event, especially thanking Judi Lancaster for organizing the sending of thousands of pounds of food and supplies to military personell currently serving overseas.

Lancaster said she collects food and supplies throughout the year, "That never stops. We’re looking for Park Forest residents or family members of Park Forest residents that are serving so I can send some packages out."

"At the beginning of this year, we sent over a hundred blankets over to Iraq," Lancaster said. "What they were doing was wrapping the wounded soldiers in them, so they’d have something soft to have around them instead of a rough military blanket."

Lancaster said residents can donate new blankets and almost anything else, as long as the package has not been opened. She says microwavable food like soup or popcorn is especially welcomed by soldiers.

The closing song for the event was sung by Kelly Hayes, Maddy Naliwko and Rebecca Pickering of St. Mary School.

Anyone wising to donate food or supplies can contact Judi Lancaster at 708-748-1112.