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Gov. Blagojevich announces State of Illinois' February "Veteran of the Month"

Press Release - Sunday, February 03, 2008

HINES - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named and honored life-long Illinoisan Victor H. Cibelli, who died on November 11th, 2007 at the age of 74, as the State of Illinois' February "Veteran of the Month" for his undivided commitment and dedication to helping service members and their families throughout Illinois.
"Our Veterans served this country and fought for our freedoms so that we could live out our dreams.  They all deserve to be respected, honored and recognized.  But those Veterans, who continue to be committed to their county after their military service, should be especially recognized.  One Veteran who went above and beyond for his country was Victor H. Cibelli - a man who was devoted to helping his fellow Veterans, their families, and the youth of this great county," said Gov. Blagojevich.
The Governor's "Veteran of the Month" award is a distinction that is given monthly to military Veterans who give back to their community and other Veterans.  On behalf of the Governor and Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) Director L. Tammy Duckworth, IDVA Chief of Staff and Brigadier General Stewart Reeve presented the Cibelli family with the award during the 65th Annual Memorial Tribute honoring the memory of the Four Chaplains at Edwards Hines VA Medical Center. 
"Victor Cibelli was a man who dedicated his time serving his country, his comrades and their families.  Vic demonstrated what giving back truly means and made this world a better place.  His leadership will be missed in the community.  He touched the hearts of many Veterans and people in general and he will always be remembered as an incredible man and Veteran.  It is only befitting that today, at an event where he served as chairman, that we honor Vic Cibelli and present his family with the ‘Veteran of the Month' award," IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth said.
Victor H. Cibelli served in the United States Navy for four years and was honorably discharged from service in 1956 as a Petty Officer Second Class.
Cibelli was a true advocate for Veterans and their families.  He was a three-time and All-State Post Commander for VFW Post 235 and served as District Commander for the VFW on various occasions.  He was a delegate and Commander of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County, a proud member of the Korean War Veterans, Italian War Veterans, and the Navy Club.  He is a past Commander of Combined Veterans Association of Illinois.  In 1995, Cibelli was the Department Commander and up until his death, was the Chief of Staff for the Jewish War Veterans.  He also was the State Safety Director for the VFW.  
In addition to Veterans organizations, Cibelli was also very active with Mended Hearts, a national cardiac support group, where he volunteered his time on a weekly basis to visit patients undergoing surgery.  He brought hope to heart disease patients, their families and caregivers.
Not only did Cibelli care about Veterans, he truly cared about the youth of this country.  He served as the Jewish War Veteran National Director of Scouting for Boy Scouts of America.  For his significant contributions to the youth community with the Boy Scouts, Cibelli was awarded the George Meany Award from AFL-CIO by Mayor Michael Bilandic.  He was also a frequent speaker at Chicago and suburban schools, speaking about his experiences in the U.S. Navy and what patriotism means.   
From his service with the Navy, Cibelli received numerous decorations and medals including: the Good Conduct Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Medal; China Service Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.
Cibelli also was the sole custodian for 90 grave sites reserved for indigent Veterans at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Chicago.  Last year, Cibelli volunteered to work at the beer tents at the Illinois State Fair where all the proceeds went to benefit Illinois' Veterans.
He was also very active with state and local elected officials to ensure that legislation and programs were passed to better the lives of his fellow Veterans.
Victor H. Cibelli passed away on November 11th, 2007, leaving his wife, Mary, his six children, five grandchildren and many other family members, friends and loved ones.
The "Veteran of the Month" award highlights the work of community activists who are also military Veterans.  Each month, on behalf of Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs recognizes a different person or group that contributes to the betterment of communities across the state of Illinois.  To nominate a "Veteran of the Month," please visit IDVA's website at or call IDVA at (217) 785-4114 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.