Rich Przybycien, who organized the sixth annual Veterans Thank You Luncheon last Saturday at St. Paul Lutheran Church Friendship Hall in Oak Lawn, plays “Taps” during a solemn moment at the event. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Rich Przybycien, who organized the sixth annual Veterans Thank You Luncheon last Saturday at St. Paul Lutheran Church Friendship Hall in Oak Lawn, plays “Taps” during a solemn moment at the event. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Church luncheon thanks and salutes U.S. veterans

Spread the love

By Joe Boyle

Veterans from all walks of life can use some assistance in receiving the benefits they deserve.

Carlo Melone, senior national service officer for the Disabled American Veterans, said that servicemen and women are entitled to certain benefits that were not available to them in the recent past.

Melone was the guest speaker at the sixth annual Veterans Thank You Luncheon held Saturday at the St. Paul Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall in Oak Lawn.

dvn vets lunch terry vorderer photo 9 29

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, spoke about how proud he was to serve during the Veterans Thank You Luncheon on Saturday.

“I had to fight for my VA claims,” said Melone, a U.S. Marine veteran. “So now, nothing is more rewarding than changing the lives of my brothers and sisters in the military.”

Melone talked about a chance encounter with a fellow Marine veteran at a pharmacy on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Melone knew he was a Marine veteran by the hat and patches on his jacket. He called out to him and they talked for a few minutes.

Jose Rosales had dropped out of high school at age 17 to join the Marine Corps. He was soon deployed to Vietnam as a military policeman. Melone said that Rosales told him he was discharged without any specific incidents but later recalled Agent Orange falling to the ground from planes overhead while he was in Vietnam.

In 1978, doctors diagnosed Rosales with Type 2 diabetes. They never linked his diabetes back then to Agent Orange.

But Melone pointed out that doctors now should know that Type 2 diabetes is often a result of Agent Orange that many Vietnam vets were victims of. Rosales was one of them.

“He had to pay over $300 a month for insulin and most of it was out of his own pocket,” Melone said.

His treatments over the next 40 years were only partially covered by insurance, Melone said. No one had told him since 2001 the Department of Veterans Affairs recognized the connection between Agent Orange and Type 2 diabetes. But he learned that by his meeting with Melone at the pharmacy in 2019.

dvn vets lunch 2022 carlo melone photo 9 29

Carlo Melone, senior national service officer for Disabled American Veterans, speaks during a luncheon saluting veterans at St. Paul Lutheran Church Friendship Hall in Oak Lawn on Saturday.

After conversing with Melone, Rosales made his first claims that were delayed due to the height of the pandemic. After much persistence, Rosales was able to receive medication and not pay out of his pocket. He was also able to pay for his wife’s cancer treatments.

His wife later died but Melone was able to fix errors that were costing Rosales thousands of dollars. Rosales now takes his daily insulin and lives a life in which he plays softball, bowls and is often on the golf course. But Rosales no longer has the financial burdens he had in the past.

“For the last 12 years, I have changed the lives of men and women in all branches of the service,” Melone said. “It is a great feeling to do that.”

Melone said that two bills have passed during the last two administrations that aid veterans.

President Donald Trump signed the Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019, or the HAVEN Act. The bipartisan legislation ensures that the bankruptcy code works to assist struggling veterans looking to achieve a financial fresh start.

The PACT Act was signed into law last month by President Joe Biden.

The new law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances, including Agent Orange.

Melone told the veterans who attended the luncheon that if they have any questions to call his Chicago office at 312-980-4242.

The annual luncheon is organized by Rich Przybycien, a longtime church elder and musician at St. Paul Church. Przybycien played “Taps” to honor active, retired and deceased U.S. veterans during a solemn moment at the event.

“I really appreciate everyone who came out,” Przybycien said. “It doesn’t matter what you did; whether you were a cook or served here or overseas. We honor your service.”

Sandy Barry is a longtime church administrative assistant at St. Paul. Her daughter, Mandy Barry, noted that her mother was also an entertainer who performed for over 15 years in the Chicago area.

The Barrys performed as The ByGone Gals during the luncheon, singing a variety of songs linked to World War II and the 1940s. Some of the songs they performed included “Sentimental Journey,” “In the Mood” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Sandy Barry became emotional when she referred to her father and Mandy’s grandfather, who died last year. He was a veteran who was proud to serve his country, Sandy Barry said.

“My father told me before he died, you know Sandy, we have to help teach the history of the veterans to the younger generations,” she said. “If we don’t, no one will know or care about them. We have to teach them.”

Przybycien later introduced Robert Klaviter, a Navy veteran who served in the Korean War. Klaviter, who was celebrating his 90th birthday, received a lengthy applause along with a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

The luncheon was held to honor U.S. veterans of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard.

The presentation of colors was given by the Johnson-Phelps VFW Post 5220 Color Guard. Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer, who is a Vietnam War Army veteran, spoke at the event.

“I wear many hats in this village but I was most proud of serving this country,” Vorderer said.

St. Paul Pastor John Moeller thanked Przybycien for organizing the event and all the volunteers who assisted. The Rev. Mark Duer, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Willow Springs, gave the blessing and closing prayer. Duer is an Army veteran of Desert Storm.

Boy Scout Troop 668 of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Worth and Boy Scout Troop 684 of Mount Greenwood Lutheran Church in Chicago were also on hand. The scouts assisted in serving meals to the veterans.

“God bless all of you and God bless America,” Przybycien said at the conclusion of the luncheon.

dvn vets lunch 2022 bygone gals photo 9 29

Sandy Barry (from left) and her daughter, Mandy Barry, perform as The Bygone Gals during the sixth annual Veterans Thank You Luncheon at St. Paul Lutheran Church Friendship Hall in Oak Lawn on Saturday.

Local News

CRRNH_StLaurenceCheerChamps_020123

Viking girls are golden

Spread the love

Spread the love The St. Laurence High School cheerleaders (aka the Golden Girls) won first place in their division at the Spartan Showdown at Marian Catholic High School late last month. Clearing and Garfield Ridge girls played a key role in the team’s success. Those girls (and their grade schools) are: Lauren Weyer (St. Jane…

CRRNH_KimHughes01_020123

She kept her promise

Spread the love

Spread the love. . By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] . Never underestimate a woman’s love for her man. Gary and Kimberly Hughes met in 1996. They fell in love and were wed in 1998. They bought a home near 61st and Natchez and were on their way…

Richard Guebert Jr.

Harvest done, but farmers still busy

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Richard Guebert Jr. As snow blankets our frozen fields, winter is a time of reflection for farmers. What worked well, what could we do better and what challenges will the upcoming spring bring? Those are questions we ask ourselves as we ring in the new year and begin planning for the next…

Rich Miller

Pritzker struggles to get auto manufacturing in gear

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Rich Miller The Rockford Register-Star reported last week that the state of Illinois “has submitted what could be its best offer to keep the Belvidere Assembly Plant operating and save what could be thousands of jobs.” Stellantis announced in December it would idle its Jeep Cherokee assembly plant in February. So, there…

Palos School District 128 has launched a Therapy Dog visitation program for students at Navajo Elementary and Independence Jr. High in Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)

District 128 schools are going to the dogs and the kids love it

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Pet therapy has also been shown to improve energy levels, self-esteem, social skills, verbal communication and mood, as well as decrease depression. Palos Heights School District 128 made the decision to bring pet therapy into the classroom to help both its students and staff reap these benefits while enjoying the…

Michael Benjamin has a laugh after being named Orland Park’s Officer of the Year during a ceremony on Jan. 16. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park cops honored and defended

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Village of Orland Park hosted its police awards ceremony last week and, as usual, Mayor Keith Pekau expressed his gratitude for the job the police force does. He also was irked by some comments he has seen online with negative comments on a post. On Jan. 7, Orland police…

Chicago Police Department

Warn of burglars in Garfield Ridge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A cluster of residential burglaries in Garfield Ridge has prompted police to issue a warning to the community. Crime scenes include: 5200 block of South Normandy on Jan. 1. 5600 block of South Mobile on Jan. 7. 5300 block of South Mason on Jan. 10. 6000 block of West 60th Street…

Sean Casten

Casten scolds sheriff on new gun control law

Spread the love

Spread the loveSays he can’t pick which laws to enforce By Tim Hadac U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th) and several other Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation recently sent a letter to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, expressing concern over his Jan. 13 statement that he will not enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act…

Muhammad

Bust accused shooter in Clearing

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Chicago Police and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force visited Clearing late last month to apprehend a man wanted in connection with a West Side shooting. Shaheer Muhammad, 24 of the 3800 block of West Grenshaw, was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at a home in the 6000 block…

illinois income tax form - Copy

2023 Illinois tax filing season now open

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Illinois Department of Revenue began accepting 2022 state individual income tax returns on Monday, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service began accepting federal individual income tax returns. “Taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically as early as possible in the tax season and choose direct deposit in order…

Neighbors

Northwestern Home Team 250x250 1
‘Omnibus’ health care bill passed amid criticisms

‘Omnibus’ health care bill passed amid criticisms

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A law recently signed by Gov. JB Pritzker will extend the deadline for the state to transfer criminal defendants deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial from jail to a mental hospital. That same bill, House Bill 240, also gives nursing homes in Illinois two more years…

Veteran Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel joins Capitol News Illinois reporting team

Veteran Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel joins Capitol News Illinois reporting team

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS [email protected] Longtime Statehouse reporter Hannah Meisel has joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a full-time state government and politics reporter. She’s had a number of assignments covering the Statehouse and Illinois government since the 2014 legislative session, most recently serving as Statehouse editor for NPR Illinois from 2020 until after…

Replacing Illinois institution as secretary of state, Giannoulias makes modernization push

Replacing Illinois institution as secretary of state, Giannoulias makes modernization push

By NIKA SCHOONOVER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – For newly sworn-in Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, customer service is the central mission as he assumes the state’s second-largest constitutional office, replacing the man who had held it for nearly a quarter century. “Modernization and bringing new technology is going to be at the forefront…

UPDATED: State preparing further defense of assault weapons ban

UPDATED: State preparing further defense of assault weapons ban

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Monday filed a petition asking an appellate court to vacate a temporary restraining order that was issued late Friday afternoon blocking enforcement of the state’s recently-passed assault weapons ban. Raoul’s office filed the petition in the 5th District Appellate Court in…

State preparing further defense of assault weapons ban

State preparing further defense of assault weapons ban

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker and legislative leaders said they were disappointed but not surprised by a judge’s decision late Friday putting a temporary and limited halt to enforcement of the state’s recently-passed assault weapons ban. Effingham County Judge Joshua Morrison issued the temporary restraining order late Friday…

Rifle Association files federal suit against assault weapons ban

Rifle Association files federal suit against assault weapons ban

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Rifle Association has joined forces with other gun rights advocates in filing a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new ban on the sale and manufacture of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. It’s the latest legal challenge to the law, which went into effect…

DCFS, director face lawsuit filed on behalf of jailed wards

DCFS, director face lawsuit filed on behalf of jailed wards

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services on Thursday was named in a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of children in state care who have been held in juvenile detention centers after a judge ordered their release. Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert is a…

At World Economic Forum, Pritzker plays role of Illinois’ ‘best chief marketing officer’

At World Economic Forum, Pritzker plays role of Illinois’ ‘best chief marketing officer’

By NIKA SCHOONOVER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – After his second-term inauguration amid a frenzied “lame duck” legislative session last week, Gov. JB Pritzker took the global stage this week at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The governor and high-ranking members of his staff joined a bipartisan delegation of U.S.…

Watchdog seeks harsher penalties in wake of abuse at Choate

Watchdog seeks harsher penalties in wake of abuse at Choate

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois & MOLLY PARKER Lee Enterprises Midwest This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with Lee Enterprises, along with Capitol News Illinois. The watchdog for the Illinois Department of Human Services is seeking harsher penalties against health care workers who obstruct abuse and neglect investigations. IDHS…

Rifle Association files federal suit against assault weapons ban

Rifle Association files federal suit against assault weapons ban

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Rifle Association has joined forces with other gun rights advocates in filing a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s new ban on the sale and manufacture of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. It’s the latest legal challenge to the law, which went into effect…

House Ad Subscription2
Regional Aurelios Pizza House Ad