Carr retires after three decades of helping Kane vets
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News February 27, 2013 2:34PM
John Carr of Batavia is retiring after years as head of the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission. Carr was instrumental in the creation of the Kane County Veterans Memorial, which is at the County Government Center in Geneva. | Sun-Times Media File
Updated: April 1, 2013 7:34AM
For 35 years, John Carr has led the charge in Kane County, securing help for local residents who have served in the U.S. military, and their families.
Carr, the first Vietnam veteran to serve as a veteran’s assistance commission superintendent in Illinois, will be retiring from his post this week.
He has valued his time in the position, he said.
“Veterans are a very unique population, who have made many sacrifices on behalf of their country,” he said. “The military is not an easy profession.”
The commission provides services and financial aid to local veterans, and works closely with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and other local veteran groups.
They answer questions from local veterans, help them apply for any services and benefits they may require, and provide non-emergency transportation to and from the Hines VA Medical Center near Maywood.
The Kane County commission has existed since 1935, and Carr is the fourth superintendent.
Though he declined to cite any specific cases through his decades of experience, he said he enjoyed helping those who have given so much and needed the assistance.
“I loved coming into the office and having a new challenge every day,” he said.
Under Carr’s tenure, Kane County built a Veteran’s Memorial on the grounds of the county Government Center in Geneva in November of 2004. The memorial contains 855 names of local veterans who gave their lives during the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War and the Persian Gulf War.
The memorial is inscribed with the quote “Freedom is not free. It must be earned and preserved each succeeding generation.”
Carr is a Vietnam veteran himself. He is the recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, and the First Class Unit Citation Badge.
He was drafted to serve in the Army in 1969. When his tenure in the military ended, he began worked as a hospital driver, joined the Kane veterans commission in 1974 and became its superintendent in 1977.
“I enjoy being able to work with clients one-on-one,” he said. “I enjoy the direct service to them, and making a difference in their lives.”
The County Board gave Carr a standing ovation at its February meeting, acknowledging his lifetime of service to veterans.