Lake Park efforts to help veterans take different forms

Alex Tsymbalisty, Perspective Editor

On November 11th, the United States celebrates Veterans Day, a day to honor all those who have served in the Armed Forces. However, for many veterans, just one day of care isn’t enough.

According to Seth Hible, a Lieutenant Colonel currently serving in Illinois Army National Guard as an Infantry Officer and an art teacher at Lake Park, Lake Park could always do more.

“Do we do enough? I am not yet sure, but we can probably do more. I sponsor one of LP’s newer clubs called the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) that seeks to support the veteran community,” said Hible.

As one of the only veteran support organization at Lake Park, the VSO supports deployed men and women by sending them care packages.

“Over the past two years the club has worked with Operation Support Our Troops America and raised over one thousand pounds of donated items that in turn are sent to deployed service-members in care packages,” said Hible.

The VSO also work with other veteran organizations like the Roselle American Legion to help raise money for veteran programs.

In fact, on November 9th, the VSO and Roselle American Legion organized a Veterans Benefit Concert hosted at West Campus.

The VSO also participates in the Flags Across Roselle program, a program that puts up flags around the community on various nation holidays like Veterans Day, Independence Day, and Memorial Day.

As to the future of the veteran community at Lake Park, Hible wants to continue building a more comprehensive support system for all past and future veterans at Lake Park.

“To tell the truth, having been on staff at LP for the past 25 years, I am not even fully aware of what the LP veteran community really looks like. I know of four staff members who are veterans but am not sure of many more. My goal as VSO Sponsor is to eventually build an LP Veterans Database comprised of LP Alumni. This would allow VSO to tailor and better support LP Veterans in the future,” said Hible.

On the other hand, Ian Smith, assistant principal at Lake Park and former sergeant in the Illinois Army National Guard, thinks students should try to connect with veterans on a more personal level.

“America’s Greatest Generation, who fought through the blood and toil of WWII, are quickly passing.  The youngest are in their 90’s. Very soon they will ‘belong to the ages’, and our collective memory will consist only of their echoes” said Smith.

“While they are still among us, I encourage our students to find a WWII vet, talk to him or her, and say thank you,” said Smith.

Veteran’s issues have many different possible solutions but we can all agree that there is always more to do for the people who did so much for us.