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April 9, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich announces State of Illinois’ April “Veteran of the Month”
Auburn man honored for continued commitment and dedication to the veteran community at American Ex-Prisoners of War ceremony

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Robert E. Foster as the State of Illinois’ April “Veteran of the Month” for his longtime commitment and dedication to helping veterans throughout the state. Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director L. Tammy Duckworth presented the award to Mr. Foster during the annual American Ex-Prisoners of War recognition ceremony outside the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. 
“Not only do veterans bravely serve our country in defense of our freedoms.  Some of them, like Robert Foster, continue to work on behalf of others, stepping up to the plate when help is needed,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Through his many organization affiliations, Mr. Foster is a strong advocate for our state’s military heroes and their families.”
The Governor’s “Veteran of the Month” award is a distinction that is given monthly to military veterans who excel as community activists and work on behalf of other veterans. 
“This award is a way Gov. Blagojevich and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs can say ‘thank you’ to the brave men and women who, after putting their lives on the line for our country, continue to be dedicated and committed to serving their community and the State of Illinois,” IDVA Director L. Tammy Duckworth said. “Mr. Foster is a great example of what this award is all about and it seems only appropriate to present him with this award at a ceremony that he helped organize.”
Robert E. Foster honorably served in the United States Army and the Illinois Army National Guard for nearly 20 years. As a soldier, Mr. Foster earned numerous awards and medals, including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon (3), the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal.
For more than seventeen years, Mr. Foster has lived his life serving those who have served our country. He has been an active and committed member of AMVETS, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the American Ex-Prisoners of War. At AMVETS, Mr. Foster currently serves as the Commander of Post 755 in Springfield. At VFW, Mr. Foster holds the position as Commander of Post 94 in Springfield. And at the American Ex-Prisoners of War, Mr. Foster serves as the Illinois State Commander and National Service Officer.
Mr. Foster is a loyal and dedicated volunteer to Illinois veterans.  He continually assists our state’s returning troops and their families by hosting benefit workshops, participates in home modifications for local Springfield area disabled veterans, and provides transportation to veterans as needed. Mr. Foster also prepares lunch and dinner for the VFW Post 755 on a regular basis.
Mr. Foster is an active member of the Inter-veterans Burial Detail of Sangamon County, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Korean War Veterans Association, 40 & 8 and the Catholic War Veterans. He also served for four years as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
In addition to his voluntary commitment to the state’s veterans, Mr. Foster has been involved with organizing fundraisers for the American Red Cross, Muscular Dystrophy and Habitat for Humanity, helping all those in need.
This year’s American Ex-POW ceremony was held in conjunction with National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day. Over 100 Illinois Ex-POWs and their families visited the Governor’s Mansion today for the special ceremony honoring their courage and service to our nation. The annual ceremony pays tribute to United States service men and women who were imprisoned in all wars, with prayers, speeches, a military honor guard, and anthems.
Gov. Blagojevich also proclaimed today, April 9, 2007, as American Ex-POW Recognition Day in Illinois to honor all Ex- POW’s from the state.
Full text of the Governor’s proclamation is below:
WHEREAS,                 many loyal and brave Americans who served in the wars of this nation were captured by the enemy or listed as missing in action while performing their duties; and
WHEREAS,                 despite strict rules and regulations set forth by international codes, American Prisoners of War have often suffered unconscionable treatment and many have died as a result of cruel and inhumane acts by their enemy captors; and
WHEREAS,                 it is exceedingly fitting that we recognize the sacrifices of American Prisoners of War and those missing in action; and
WHEREAS,                 these heroic soldiers have demonstrated their love and convictions in the people and freedoms of this country by enduring these tragedies and in many unfortunate cases by giving the ultimate sacrifice:
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim April 9, 2007 as AMERICAN EX-PRISONERS OF WAR RECOGNITION DAY in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to take a moment to honor and remember the men and women who suffered while fighting to make America a better place for all to live.
Mr. Foster was joined by his daughter Paula at today’s award ceremony.  He resides in Auburn, Illinois.  Together, he and his wife, Carol, have five children, several grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
The “Veteran of the Month” award highlights the work of community activists who also happen to be military veterans.  Each month, on behalf of Gov. 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 www.state.il.us/agency/dva or call (312) 814-2744 to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.


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