By Ian Haynes

The Chicago 2nd Platoon’s United in Service event on Sept 14th kicked off Chicago Warrior Week, a collaborative effort between nine veteran organizations that encourages collaboration between veteran organizations.

The week-long series of events designed for veterans highlighted different programs and resources available to bridge the transition to civilian life and set them up for success. The other organizations involved in Chicago Warrior Week included: Chicago Vets, Illinois Joining Forces, The Road Home Program, Team Rubicon, Team RWB, Travis Manion Foundation, The Vet Center and Wounded Warrior Project. The entire week was geared toward personal growth, connectedness and community impact for veterans.

The service event took place in the Little Village neighborhood as part of Operation Little Village, which supports the creation of empowered community organizations. During this day of service, the service platoon completed projects with five different community partners, who are all working together for common cause, the restoration of a strong, healthy, vibrant Little Village community.

The volunteer effort beautified the Little Village space and created a more welcoming, safe and healthy environment for Southside residents who use it. In addition to new baseboards, the service platoon removed the existing baseboards and treated them for rot and mold before installing the new baseboards.

Big thanks for our sponsor, HSBC Bank. Bill Connolly, HSBC Valor ERG Chicago co-lead and his team came out on Friday to support prep work for the Saturday project. Shoutout for making the day possible!

We also want to recognize Little Village Chamber of Commerce for providing breakfast on Saturday morning with Mexican sweetbread from a local Little Village bakery — it was delicious.

Thank you to all the amazing volunteers who came out to serve with us! The mission truly does continue with your spirit of volunteerism.

Community Partners

  • American Legion Manuel Perez, Jr. Post 1017
  • Beyond the Ball
  • Enlace Chicago
  • Universidad Popular
  • Yollocalli

Work Completed

  • Replaced 600 linear ft of baseboards
  • Light cleaning around the building (floors, dusting, etc)
  • Trimmed 20 bushes around front of school that houses Beyond the Ball
  • Built 1 new trash can container
  • Picked up 5 large bags of trash at soccer field
  • Painted banquet hall (approx. 1500 sq ft)
  • Led neighborhood clean-up, picking up 10 large bags of trash
  • Mulched a vacant lot next to their building that is used by children to play. (Spread approximately 15 cubic yards of mulch)

Reflections

“Work like this is deeply embedded in my roots. I think this is amazing.”Mathew Montalvo
1st time community volunteer

“I wanted to try to be helpful to you guys and also try to make more connections… I’m trying to connect with different community gardens and see if we can bring more veterans out to community gardens.” Jessica Klinge
US Army Reserves, Platoon Member

“I think that with an all-volunteer force the people who have stepped up have a drive for serving something greater than themselves, and I don’t think that there’s a better way to demonstrate that commitment to something greater than ourselves than by working within our community to build community and strengthen it, so I think that it’s important for veterans to get back into serving our community so they don’t lose that sense of purpose and that drive to work toward something greater than themselves.” Carlos Luna
Navy Veteran, Platoon Member

Photos from the day