Vietnam Veterans Honor Society presents award to local veteran
By Susan Johnson
The Vietnam Veterans Honor Society presented its Annual Veterans Appreciation Award Jan. 22 to Jim Elliott for his 20-plus years of distinguished service to veterans. The presentation was made at the Vets Center Outstation, 7015 Rote Road in Rockford. Elliott served in the Air Force while in Vietnam.
Following his experiences in the war, Elliott consulted a Veterans Affairs clinic in Rockford to help him settle some issues. There, he met other veterans, began volunteering, and eventually became a counselor at the Vet Center. The award presentation was held in conjunction with an open house for the Vet Center at its new location after moving from its East State Street office in December.
The award was presented by Nicholas Parnello, president of the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society. Parnello told The Rock River Times:
He’s (Elliott) what we call a veteran for all veterans. We present the awards every year. It could be a civilian, too. The award is just for contributions that people make to honor veterans. The last award was given to Carol Martin, a VA employee. Even though she’s not a veteran, we gave her the award because of her commitment to help veterans and honor them. She does a lot of work over and above the call of duty to help us figure things out through the VA system.
She was given the award two years ago,” Parnello added. “The heart of a volunteer is very special. They do some extraordinary things to help heal the wounds of the wars we’ve been through. Once you cross that line, you’re never the same. Being under those circumstances, it changes your life and makes you appreciate the freedom we have in this country. I’m so grateful I served, though I wouldn’t want to do it again. My service time was a gift to me, and I think all veterans would tell you that.
Jim Elliott is a paid counselor and a Vietnam vet,” Parnello said. “Jim really has a heart for this work. We’re lucky to have him.
Also present at the ceremony were former Winnebago County State’s Attorney and now director of United Way, Paul Logli, and former POW Michael Lenker, who spoke at the event. Other veterans who were there to congratulate Elliott included Paul Cassioppi and Jim Masella.
From the Feb. 3-9, 2010 issue.
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