Illinois veterans

A measure in the Illinois Senate aims to reduce the number of veteran suicides.

It's a response to a recent study that found nearly 22 veterans kill themselves every day in the U.S.  The bill would address specific problems that could add to a service member's stress. Sen. Paul Schimpf says this includes better state Department of Veterans Affairs assistance with mental health issues.

"There is a stigma in the veterans community ... saying that it's a sign of weakness to seek help," Schimpf said.

Illinois Department of Corrections/Facebook

Illinois lawmakers are discussing measures aimed at curbing veteran suicide rates. 

One would allow servicemembers to apply for a service dog raised by Helping Paws and the state’s Department of Corrections. The bill is sponsored by State Representative Dave Severin and already passed the House. 

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Northern Illinois community members took to the streets to honor local veterans over the weekend.

It’s the fifth year local police and fire officials escorted a motorcade to several DeKalb County retirement homes. 

Residents of the facilities lined the sidewalk as the veterans’ names and service were read aloud. 

Robert Roe works at Pine Acres in DeKalb. He says it's important to raise spirits of the residents.

“We try and do things to keep our residents involved – involved in the community, and recognizing things that they’ve done in their lives," Roe said.

Office of the Illinois Attorney General

The Illinois Attorney General’s office recently released a guide outlining the rights of Illinois veterans and current members of the military.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan says it details a variety of provisions designed to assist them.  

"There's some different issues about their credit and what happens when someone's a victim of identity theft," she says.  "There are a lot of rights and benefits that service members and veterans have.  It's hard to figure them out.  That's why we tried to put them in one place."  

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

The Springfield cemetery containing the grave of President Lincoln now has a monument to Purple Heart recipients.  

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother."

That quote, from Shakespeare's Henry V. is inscribed on the new granite monument.

It's also etched with a drawing of the medal -- a heart, emblazoned with a profile of George Washington, that hangs from a purple ribbon.

The Purple Heart is the military's oldest award, given to troops killed or wounded in combat.