Veterans were drawn to the Homewood Public Library Saturday for the first Veterans Benefits Fair to gather information and learn from 15 organizations.
Despite the rain, a steady flow of veterans came to the library for information and camaraderie, enjoying food provided by Walt’s Foods and the Wounded Warrior Project. There were representatives of Homewood’s Wally Burns VFW Post and the Homewood Veterans Committee, as well as social service agencies, schools and government offices.
Librarian Lynn DiMaggio spearheaded the event. She recalls a veteran friend who struggled to get help. It was the persistence of another vet that finally got him services through the Veterans Administration. Knowing his story, DiMaggio said she knew a gathering like Saturday’s event could help others like her friend.
Library Director Amy Crump credited DiMaggio for the work that went in to getting the fair on the calendar, and then making numerous phone calls to get organizations involved.
DiMaggio worked with librarian Melissa Frew on special posters of veterans. The library typically has posters of major celebrities reading books under the headline READ. Frew asked World War II and Vietnam Homewood vets to pose for the posters in the library. She added a current reservist, and got Homewood’s Jessica Polacek, serving with the U.S. Air Force in Alaska, to send a photo of herself with a book.
Two years ago DiMaggio put together a slide show of Homewood and East Hazel Crest veterans as a Veterans Day display. This year, she will again be working on a Veterans Day display for the library. It will mark three major 2015 anniversaries: the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon that brought an end to the Vietnam War.