Strength and Honor Veterans Luncheon

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Area veterans were honored at the 11th annual Strength and Honor Luncheon hosted by Naperville Responds For Veterans.

World War II Focus

“What we want to do every year is something a little bit different. This year is obviously a World War II emphasis. We have some World War II veterans in attendance today, which is outstanding,” said Dan Jurjovec, President of Naperville Responds for Veterans. “We want to make sure we’re honoring the different age groups of veterans, and you know, I think next year we can expect to see an emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans, as we start preparing literally as soon as this event ends for the next one to begin.”

Guest Speakers

550 people were in attendance including 230 veterans. The event had two guest speakers, starting with Lorraine Shoto, the cousin of former Tuskegee Airman Melvin Copeland who recently passed away. Shoto showed a video highlighting the life of Copeland, and his unwavering spirit.

“Melvin would have loved being in this room, in the company of his fellow veterans, and the bonds of brotherhood shared was something that he very much treasured,” said Shoto.

Kathy Kincanon Nosek, author of “My Darling: 99 Love Letters,” also spoke during the event. Her book is a love story centered around letters her dad wrote to her mom during World War II.

“April 7, 1942: By the way, you’re my first darling in my life, also the last. I am speechless, dumb and dumbfounded, I have always felt your complete love of a good decent girl. That’s my daddy,” said Kincanon Nosek, reading from her book.

This was the luncheon’s first April return since 2019, having been canceled in 2020, and then postponed to September in 2021. But Naperville Responds For Veterans works year round to improve the life of veterans through repairing, building and donating homes.

Naperville News 17 Patrick Codo reports.