September 20, 2011 - On October 18, 2011, the Veteran's Assistance Commission will be conducting a Stand Down for homeless veterans and veterans in need. A Stand Down allows veterans in need to receive a medical and dental assessment, a haircut, and a referral for other counseling services, if needed. In addition, with winter approaching, the VAC has long strived toward the goal of providing each veteran in need with a winter coat. All of this is done in an attempt to restore the dignity of our veterans and their families who now find themselves in need.
Mike Peck, the Superintendent of the VAC had, in years past, asked the Vernon Hills Police Department to take the lead in coordinating the supply of winter coats for Lake County homeless veterans and veterans in need. In the past, this effort was relatively easy, as the number of veterans in need and therefore the number of cooats needed was generally around 100 or so. We had an area resident, who during the "good economic times," wrote a check to cover the cost of the coats. As the economy worsened, the number of veterans in need has ballooned to nearly four times that, and the resident is no longer able to make the economic commitment that he had in the past to cover the cost of the coats. Last year, Coach Wood of the Grayslake North High School football team graciously offered the coats that were collected by the North and Central football programs when North hosted the rivalry game, so we were able to meet our goal. Every item of clothing that was not selected by a veteran or their family member was turned over to a charity, and in return, a monetary donation was made to the VAC. The VAC then coverted these donations into vouchers that were provided to veterans needing emergency assistance.
As the economy has worsened, more veterans have sought the assistance of the VAC, and more charitable organizations are needed to help address this issue. This year, students from the Vernon Hills High School Interact Club will be using the September 30th Cougar's game against Grant High School at the VHAC to collect coats to help us ensure we cover the increased amount of veterans and their families that now find themselves in need. Grayslake Central and North High Schools are also participating again this year. Persons attending the Grayslake Central vs. Grayslake North game on October 14 will be asked to bring a coat to the game as a donation in support of this effort.
What we now need is support from the community. The Vernon Hills and Grayslake Police Departments will be collecting new and gently-used coats, as well as new gloves, until October 14. Donations can be brought to 740 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills or 10 S. Seymour, Grayslake, at any time of day or night.
For additional information on the Veteran's Stand Down, contact Superintendent Mike Peck of the Veteran's Assistance Commission, 20 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Waukegan, Illinois, 60085, 847-377-3344.
For more information regarding the Grayslake Central vs. Grayslake North game collection, contact Coach Nick Goshe at 847-986-3300 (ask for Athletics). The game will be on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm at the Grayslake Central High School, 400 N. Lake Street, Grayslake. Bins will be located a the main entrance.
For more information regarding the Vernon Hills High School vs. Grant High School game collection, contact SRO Jeff Cielak at 847-932-2003. The game will be held at the Vernon Hills Athletic Center, 100 Cougar Way in Vernon Hills on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm.
High schools or police departments interested in joining Cops 'n' Rivals to assist homeless veterans and veterans in need, please contact Ofc. Joseph at 847-247-4889 or Deputy Chief Petrillo.