Yesterday, State Representative La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) hosted a discussion on veteran issues at the Li’l Red Wagon Coffee House in Oak Park. Discussions focused on the issues and challenges that veterans face while seeking assistance and obtaining help from veteran service organizations. The group focused on better ways to inform veterans of programs available to them in the community. Organizations such as Childserv, The Soldiers Project, Easter Seals, Loretto Hospital, and Hines VA were among some of the attendees seeking solutions to these issues.

“Organizations across Chicago and the suburbs are reaching out to help veterans with the issues they are facing today,” said Ford. “Veterans deserve to take advantage of these services, but many may not be aware of the many services that are available. Veterans have made many sacrifices in service to our country, and we should honor that service by providing veterans and their families with what they need,” said Ford.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will be published in January found that since thewars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, only 51 percent of eligible veterans have sought care through the VA. Researchers say that these servicemen and servicewomen are reluctant to call on the VA for help for a number of reasons. They may be unfamiliar with the system, live far from a center, or doubt the quality of care available.

“We are grateful to Rep. Ford for stepping up as an elected official to bring together community groups in service to veterans,” said Jacques Rene Hebert of Childserv, a veteran of the Marines himself. According to Ford, yesterday’s coffee is one of many sit-down discussions on veterans issues that will be held with community partners, taking on one issue at a time in order to produce results for veterans for a particular challenge that they face.

For more information, contact Jonathon Tate, Community and Veterans Outreach Coordinator for the Eighth District at one of Ford’s constituent service offices: 816 S. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park at 708-445-3673, 4800 W. Chicago Avenue in Chicago at 773-378-5902 or in the Stratton Office Building in Springfield at 217-782-5962, or visit

Join the discussion on social media!