Blackhawks To Honor Iraq Veteran

Note: I received this note earlier and wanted to pass it along. The Blackhawks do a magnificent job of appreciating, supporting and honoring our military, and this is another great example of the organization helping a veteran and raising awareness for a great cause.

At each home Chicago Blackhawks game there is an active-duty member of the Armed Forces as well as a veteran in attendance during the singing of the National Anthem. On January 12, 2012 Evergreen Park resident Lance Corporal Luis Ocasio will be standing on the ice for this special honor.

Luis Ocasio has served two tours of duty in Iraq, one in 2004 and another in 2007. During his deployment he suffered a traumatic brain injury and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. His transition back to civilian life, like many veterans, has been challenging and he’s still working to make ends meet financially so he can provide for his wife and children.

A few months ago Luis noticed his furnace was no longer functioning properly and with the cold winter quickly approaching he knew he had to swallow his pride and ask for help. With the assistance of the Hines VA Hospital, Luis got in contact with the Helping Our Heroes charitable foundation. Nancy Neimoth, Director of Helping our Heroes, immediately contacted the Heat for Heroes program and within weeks a new furnace was on its way to the Ocasio family.

Heat for Heroes is an effort of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA) and the members of Pipefitters Local 597. Their mission is to donate time and materials to repair home heating and cooling systems for eligible military personnel.

“I thought getting a new furnace was such a blessing, but now I’m being honored at a Blackhawks game. The Heat for Heroes program has really gone above and beyond for me and my family.”

For more information about Heat for Heroes or to find out if you are eligible, please visit www.mca.org.

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4 Responses to Blackhawks To Honor Iraq Veteran

  1. Will says:

    Great story, it is really cool that Hawks do this every game. My father is a vet, and Ive been really interested in getting him on the ice. I know the USO organizes it, but I have no idea where to start. Any ideas?

  2. Mel says:

    The USO does the coordination for the Military on the ice. I was told that the person who takes care of that is Jeannie and she can be reached at 312-822-6699. I called her to get my husband’s name on the waiting list. I think the list is pretty long, so do it soon! I contacted her 4 months ago and we haven’t gotten a call yet. Hope this helps!

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  4. Joey Zamboni says:

    This is a fantastic program & I hope it continues forever. Now how about adding fire & police as well……

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