Naperville’s Responds For Veterans Strength and Honor Luncheon

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The Chorus of DuPage sang in tribute to 200 area U.S. military veterans on Wednesday at the Naperville Responds for Veterans 12th annual Strength and Honor luncheon.

It was a full house of more than 500 at Bobak’s Signature Events in Woodridge, all coming together to honor those who have served.

The impact of the Strength and Honor Luncheon

“Today’s not really a fundraising initiative, it’s more of an awareness piece and also an opportunity just to spend a day with local veterans and thank them for their service,” said Naperville Responds for Veterans President, Dan Jurjovec. “That’s always part of our mission, not just the specific home improvement and modification that we do, but honoring veterans every single day.

The featured speaker of the event was retired Army First Sergeant, Matt Eversmann. Eversmann was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in August of 1993, in support of Operation Gothic Serpent. For his service there, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

His experience in Somalia was featured in the Academy Award-winning film “Blackhawk Down.” Eversmann says the movie depicts the invasion of Mogadishu well, but more importantly, reflects the character of those who serve.

The Values in the film “Blackhawk Down”

“I think that movie depicts these three great values of the men and women that served in Mogadishu and served today,” said Eversmann. “And one is selfless service, one is courage and one is duty. Those three are sort of embedded in everyone’s DNA. I think of every soldier that’s ever been to battle in any campaign and that movie Black Hawk Down shows it.”

The lunch brought together veterans of all ages, from World War II through the Global War On Terror. Some active service members were on hand as well.

Jurjovec shares his message on what the Strength and Honor luncheon means to him.

“It’s really about how you go about your everyday living and putting others before yourself.  I think that If we could do that collectively, the world would be a better place. So this is just a concrete example of showing people what that’s all about through veterans and their service to the country.”

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