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Blagojevich Administration Announces State of Illinois' October "Veteran of the Month"

Press Release - Monday, October 27, 2008

DIXON - Lifelong Dixon resident, James Hackbarth, was today named the State of Illinois' October, 2008 "Veteran of the Month" for his outstanding service to this nation, to his community and to his fellow Veterans. 
"Our Veterans have stood forward and answered the call to duty when this country needed them.  In Illinois, we are very proud to have a number of Veterans who continue this kind of commitment even after their military service is complete - like James Hackbarth - a man who has continued to be committed to the people of his state.  For his continued dedication and service, we honor and thank him," said Governor 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 Assistant Director Sergio Estrada presented Hackbarth with the award this afternoon at the American Legion Post #12 in Dixon. 
"James Hackbarth is a perfect example of the type of individual that the Veteran of the Month award is designed to honor.  He not only served this country in uniform, but he has served the City of Dixon for decades, helping his fellow comrades and the youth.  Today we rightfully honor Mr. Hackbarth, a devoted Veteran both in and out of uniform, with the ‘Veteran of the Month' award," said Director Duckworth.
Hackbarth proudly served in the United States Marine Corps 1953-1957 and the United States Navy from 1957-1968.  Hackbarth served as a Radio Operator with the Navy and flew over 150 flights in Vietnam.  For his military service, Hackbarth received the Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. 
After returning home from battle, Hackbarth continued to stay involved with the military.  Hackbarth is a life member of the Marine Corps League where he has served in a variety of positions including: Paymaster for the Dixon Area Detachment; National Vice Commandant for the Central Division; Vice President National Marine of the Year Society; and National POW/MIA Chairman.  He is also a Life Member of Viet Now, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Hackbarth is a true advocate and leader for the Veteran community, serving those who he fought beside.  For years, Hackbarth has volunteered his time to visit sick Veterans living in local nursing homes and hospitals.  He unselfishly spends his time and energy to better the lives of the residents and patients.
For the past six years, Hackbarth has served as the President of the Lee County Veterans Assistance Committee.  Under Hackbarth's leadership, this organization has two dozen volunteer drivers who transport Veterans to VA Clinics and VA Hospitals in Northern Illinois.  Hackbarth himself has personally assisted numerous Veterans in getting assistance through the Federal VA system, including food vouchers, utility bills, transportation and medical care. 
He is also a founding member and past Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Commission in Dixon.  Hackbarth helped to plan and establish the Park as a way to commemorate our Veterans' sacrifices and to honor their memory.
In addition to his commitment to Veterans, Hackbarth is devoted to helping the youth community.  He volunteered as a lifeguard for more than six years at the local YMCA, where he also taught lifeguard lessons to young adults. 
Hackbarth also is committed to keeping the city he lives in a beautiful place for current and future residents and visitors.  Since the start of the Beautification of Dixon project in 2001, Hackbarth has dedicated countless hours volunteering to help build planters, plant flowers and weed various areas throughout the Dixon.
Hackbarth is married, a proud father of five and grandfather of eleven.
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 Department 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 (312) 814-5538 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.