Lieutenant governor, IDVA director visit veterans home
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, IDVA, director Erica Borggren visited residents of the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna Thursday afternoon, Dec. 20.
Simon and Borggren helped to celebrate the holiday season and highlighted the importance of funding for veterans homes throughout Illinois.
They presented cards to veterans home residents which had been made by school children throughout Illinois. Simon and Borggren also had an opportunity to watch, and help, as residents made gingerbread houses – and even a gingerbread train.
Borggren said that "one of the greatest joys" of her job was to be able to visit Illinois' veterans homes and their residents.
Simon thanked all of the veterans for their service to the nation.
"Veterans homes like this allow us to better care for the men and women who have served our country," Simon said in a news release.
"The state's fiscal reality has already resulted in cuts to services for veterans, and it is vital that we work together in Springfield to make sure that these homes, which provide a sense of community, medical care and more, remain open and operating."
Simon and Borggren each addressed the importance of preserving funding for veterans homes, even during the state's current fiscal crisis.
"During the holiday season, it's important for us to remember and honor our veterans, many of whom spent the holidays away from home during their time in uniform, and some of whom are even now serving in harm's way," Borggren said.
"The work we at IDVA do throughout the year in Anna and at our other veterans homes is an important way we honor and thank our heroes for their service and sacrifices."
IDVA operates four veterans home throughout Illinois. In addition to the home in Anna, faciclities are located in LaSalle, Manteno and Quincy. Work also is underway on a fifth home in Chicago.
Each home is fully staffed with professionals who provide long-term, skilled care and services to resident members.
Volunteers from veterans service organizations and the local community provide many additional supporting services and activities to the residents of the homes.
The state's veterans homes have not been immune to budget cuts, due in part to the state's growing pension burden.
The Illinois Veterans Home in Anna opened in August 1994.