The Illinois Veterans’ Patriotic Volunteer and Appreciation Award high-lights 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, Life-long servants whose efforts benefit all of Illinois veteran communities.
Mr. George Alexander Pempek is a decorated military veteran of the United States Army who served honorably in the United States and Germany and was support of the Korean War. He enlisted in the United States Army at Fort McCoy Wisconsin February 5, 1947, right after his 17th birthday, while World War II was still underway and continued to serve in Korea during the Korean War and subsequent tours in Germany and the United States. Mr. Pempek earned numerous awards and decorations for his service, including the; Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal with 5 campaign stars (1950-1951), United Nations Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal (6th Award), Commendation Ribbon with Metal Pendant, National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, Academic Commendation and Letter of Commendation.
He continued to serve his community and his fellow veterans, exhibiting exemplary commitment through various veteran and volunteer activities, including being a lifetime member of Catholic War Veterans where he has served as Treasurer and State Adjutant; member of the Korean War Veterans and serving as the Treasurer; member of the World War II Illinois Veterans Memorial Committee; member and delegate to the Illinois Combined Veterans Association where he served as Commander from 2001-2002 and was selected as “Person of the Year” in 2007; delegate to the Inter Veterans’ Council; delegate to Veterans Assistance Commission; longtime member of the Illinois State Fair Veterans’ Day Committee; past member of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veterans’ Day at the State Fair Committee and past member of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Advisory Council.
“Mr. Pempek fought for our great country and came home to continue serving his country, community and home,” said Director Erica Jeffries, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “He is truly deserving of this award.”
The Award was present to Mr. Pempek by Harry Sawyer, Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs today at the Northenders VFW Post 1032 in Springfield, Illinois. Mr. Sawyer presented him a proclamation from Governor Bruce Rauner.
The Illinois Veterans’ Patriotic Volunteer and Appreciation Award will be awarded quarterly from the nominations received. The veteran of the year will be selected from the four individuals awarded the veteran’s Patriotic Volunteer and Appreciation Award. The Veteran selected will be honored at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois in August of each year.