COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – To help connect local veterans with local, state and federal resources, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is hosting a veterans’ benefits fair on Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at the American Legion Post #365 located at 1022 Vandalia St. in Collinsville.
“We owe it to those who have served to care for them when they return home, whether that was two weeks ago or 50 years ago,” Stuart said. “In Springfield, I am working to improve educational and employment opportunities for returning veterans by supporting legislation to expand college credit opportunities for military personnel, ensure mental health services are available to veterans and guarantee that no veteran or active military personnel are discriminated against because of their military status.”
Stuart’s veterans’ benefits fair is free and open to the public. Over two dozen organizations will be in attendance, including representatives from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Illinois Joining Forces, Southwestern Illinois College, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Ameren, the Illinois State Treasurer’s office, Southern Illinois University, Supportive Services for Veteran Families and Madison County Transit.
Attendees are encouraged to bring old, unneeded cellphones to donate to Cell Phones for Soldiers. Stuart’s full-time constituent services office located at 2105 Vandalia, Suite 16 in Collinsville serves as a permanent drop off location. Donated cellphones are used to purchase calling cards for military personnel serving overseas.
“What I love about our community is the willingness of local officials, not-for-profit organizations and businesses to step up and support our veterans,” said Stuart. “Many veterans might not be aware that these services and benefits exist or that they are eligible for these programs. My free veterans’ benefits fair is an opportunity to bring these resources together under one roof.”