Admission to the fair will be
free on Sunday for Illinois veterans and their families. The
fun-filled day will include a free lunch for all veterans who attend
and entertainment by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the
Springfield Municipal Band, the Springfield Muni Band and the 144th
U.S. Army Band.
A special truck named Standing Proud will be on
display. Standing Proud, owned by Effingham resident Matt Jones, is
a specially painted truck that memorializes the fallen troops from
the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. The names of all those
who died in the line of duty are etched on the truck's body.
The world-renowned U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team is a
24-man rifle platoon that executes a series of calculated drill
movements and precise handling of their hand-polished 10 1/2-pound
M-1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The routine concludes with a
unique rifle inspection involving elaborate rifle spins and tosses.
Five of the team members are Illinois natives:
Lance Cpl. Shawn M. Ballard, Erie; Cpl. Marc A. Peters, Chicago;
Lance Cpl. Robert J. Stukel, Channahon; Lance Cpl. James J. Sinovich;
and Cpl. Cole B. Van Dorn, Glendale Heights. For more information
about the drill team, visit www.marines.com.
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"Last year we had the Silent Drill Team and had such a great
response from the public we invited them back," said Roy L. Dolgos,
director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. "We're
very lucky to have these guys back for a second year."
A Mini Supermarket of Veterans' Benefits will also be presented
to help veterans apply for an array of benefits available from both
the state and federal governments. The Department of Veterans'
Affairs will have several field officers on hand to provide
step-by-step assistance to veterans who need help filing their
benefits claims. In addition, many state and federal agencies, along
with regional medical centers and businesses from across Illinois,
will be at this event to provide information about job and education
opportunities and much more. The goal of the event is for every
veteran who makes the trip to the state fair to leave with a
complete understanding of the programs and benefits they are
eligible for and the information and contacts they need to enroll.
Department of Veterans' Affairs news release]