On Friday, February 27, 2010, fifty-eight Chicago Chapter members and guests attended a multi-purpose program at the new Indiana National Guard Armory at the Gary International Airport. Thanks to the hard work of Alcus Cromartie, thirty-one of us met at Martin Temple at 11:00 a.m. to travel by bus in anticipation of a secure and non-publicized meeting one of our nation’s great military leaders, General Colon Powell.
When we arrived, we were received by a large crowd and received copies of the official program. The program introduced Webb House, Inc. in Gary, Indiana, Tammy Duckworth, Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and concluded with a Purple Heart Ceremony for SGT. Ted Uzelac.
Webb House, Inc. is a future home for northwest Indiana Veterans. It will be located on the abandoned site of a senior citizens home on the 1900 block of Clark Road. Inaugurated in October 2009 and with the assistance of government funds, the facility will be remodeled to house veterans as well as other categories of challenged individuals using a continuum of care model. Residents of Webb House, Inc. will receive job readiness training. In addition, Veterans will receive skills-based training to build and supply windmills supporting the green economy of northwest Indiana.
Although General Colon Powell could not attend, Tammy Duckworth was inspirational. She addressed the crowd of Veterans as war buddies who survive and thrive on the mutual admiration and support of one another. Recalling the Iraq engagement that disabled her legs and the helicopter she piloted, the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs recalled the bonds established during basic training that remain throughout a soldier’s life. She spoke with humility and honor about the courage, strength and endurance that leads soldiers to sacrifice life and limb to serve their country and save the lives of others.