Vietnam Veteran, Latino Leader from Des Plaines Honored with Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award

Chicago –(ENEWSPF)–January 8, 2015.  Chicago Vincent E. Rangel credits young draftee soldiers he trained and led in Vietnam, men he called “the living example of American initiative and resourcefulness”, for making him a better leader.

Rangel was honored at a ceremony last evening with the Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award, presented by Acting Director Rodrigo Garcia, of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, at the Casa Michoacan in Chicago.

“Vince Rangel’s service to his fellow veterans, community, and the State are exceptional,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA).  “He epitomizes what our veterans are, and what they bring back from their service in uniform. With Vince, we he helps people of different background find common ground and builds bridges and helps tear down barriers.  He is making a difference and it is greatly appreciated.”

Rangel, who was born in Mexico, returned from Vietnam as a combat veteran having earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and other awards to accompany his Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge.  Leaving the Army with the permanent rank of Captain, he returned to Illinois and started a career of service, all while helping his fellow veterans and his community.

He was with the Illinois Department of Transportation where he served in the capacity of Deputy Director of the Office of Finance and Administration, responsible for the oversight of a $2.7-billion budget.  Rangel’s bilingual talents helped to promote IDOT’s Hispanic Community outreach. As the Deputy Director of Business and Workforce Diversity, he helped minority and underutilized companies to compete for IDOT contracts. He earned his BBA in Marketing from Loyola University of Chicago, and served as national marketing director for a private railroad repair company.  He served in the insurance and financial industry for 20 years prior to his service with the State of Illinois.  He serviced clients both in the United States and Mexico, as well as partnering with local brokerage houses that insured City of Chicago and Cook County accounts.  He was a contributor to the national Hispanic business presence by serving on the board of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he represented the eight Midwestern states as well as chairing the Convention and International Committees.

Rangel also continued to serve in the veteran community in a wide variety of roles, organizational memberships, and community activities. He served as the State of Illinois spokesman for the “Just Say Yes” Mental Health Campaign, an advocacy effort for veteran behavioral health services, as well as volunteering as a guest lecturer at various universities, colleges, and schools, providing students with an intimate history of the Vietnam War.

Garcia presented Rangel the Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award, which includes a framed proclamation as well as a State Flag on behalf of Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 at an event beginning at 5 pm.  The ceremony was held Casa Michoacan, home to the Federacion de Clubes Michoacanos in Illinois, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the cultural, social, sporting, and educational activities between the Michoacanos, Mexican, and immigrant communities in general with a transnational vision.  He was nominated by Harry Sawyer, Field Services Manager, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs; and his wife Mary Jo, daughter Veronica Rodriguez, her husband Alvaro, and grandchildren Juan Diego and Victoria attended the event, as well as other family and friends.

The Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award (ALVCA) highlights and honors Illinois veterans whose contributions in service to the veteran community and their local communities are truly above and beyond. Nominees are evaluated on the basis of their leadership, dedication, innovation, and impact in serving these communities. ALVCA recipients are those whose efforts add to the powerful narrative that veterans are dedicated, lifelong public servants from whose efforts all of Illinois’ communities stand to benefit. In contributing to this narrative through their service to veteran and local communities, the ALVCA recipients not only impact the lives of those they serve, but also the overall advocacy effort for Illinois veterans.  The IDVA readily accepts nominations of veterans for consideration to receive the ALVCA.

Please contact Ryan Yantis, communication manager, IDVA, [email protected] or 312-814-0778 with any question concerning the IDVA or the Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award.


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