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Chicago Man Honored as Illinois Veteran of the Month

Posted by Admin On October - 4 - 2014

Jaime P. Pesongco, as a young man in the Philippines joined U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) in the initial days of the United States’ involvement in World War II.  Once Imperial Japanese troops had overrun the Allied forces in the Philippines in 1942, he joined the Resistance.  There he served for over 30 months fighting the Japanese forces and providing support to American and Allied efforts to liberate the Commonwealth, at times only armed with a bolo, the traditional knife of the Philippines.

“We congratulate and thank Mr. Pesongco, not only for his time fighting to free his country, but for his contributions since,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA).  “His steadfast commitment in the Philippine jungles is easily matched with his unwaivering support of his fellow veterans and his community.  We are grateful for his continued efforts.”

The IDVA was represented at this event by Simon Wlodarski, Chief of Staff, IDVA, who presented the award, which includes a framed proclamation as well as a State Flag on behalf of Governor Pat Quinn to Pesongco.  The ceremony was held at the Consulate General’s Office of the Philippines on Michigan Ave. in Chicago late in the afternoon on Thursday, Oct. 2.

Pesongco was mustered out of the service on May 19, 1945 after helping free his country.  His awards and decorations for his service, including the Philippine Liberation Medal, Philippine Independence Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Philippine Military Civic Action Medal, and Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation.

As a veteran Pesongco has been active in helping homeless veterans, raising awareness for the “All or Nothing” effort to gain full veterans’ benefits for his fellow veterans and is well-known in Chicago and regional veteran activities.  He was nominated for this recognition by Marty Smith, President, Marine Corps Coordinating Council, Chicago.

The Veteran of the Month award highlights and honors the work of Illinois veterans whose contributions in service to the veteran community and their local communities are truly above and beyond. Nominees are evaluated on the basis of their leadership, dedication, innovation, and impact in serving these communities. Award recipients are those whose efforts add to the powerful narrative that veterans are dedicated, lifelong public servants from whose efforts all of Illinois’ communities stand to benefit. In contributing to this narrative through their service to veteran and local communities, recipients not only impact the lives of those they serve, but also the overall advocacy effort for Illinois veterans.

For additional information, please contact Ryan Yantis, communication manager, IDVA, ryan.yantis@illinois.gov or 312-814-0778.

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