JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow on Tuesday (Sept. 16, 2008) christened the new, ADA-accessible shuttle bus his office purchased for use by the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County.
The air-conditioned, 20-seat shuttle bus, which the state’s attorney purchased using money forfeited to the state by criminals, will be used to transport local veterans from Joliet to Hines VA Hospital where they receive necessary medical services. The shuttle bus cost $57,000. No taxpayer funding was used to pay for the bus.
In addition to the symbolic christening, Tuesday’s dedication ceremony included the posting of colors by The American Legion Post 1080 Color Guard and a blessing by the Rev. Chris Groh, who is also the chaplain of the Joliet Police Department.
“We can never repay our local veterans whose selfless dedication and sacrifice were critical to the defense of our country and our freedom,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “We as a society must do everything in our power to ensure that their needs are met. They deserve access to health care in a way that respects their dignity and demonstrates our deep gratitude for their loyalty and courage. I am honored that I have been given the opportunity to play a role in securing their transportation to and from Hines Hospital for these medical services.”
The existing bus was constantly in need of repair and had become too small to meet the needs of our local veterans.
“On behalf of the County of Will and the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County, Inc., I would like to thank Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow for his generous donation of the new VAC van, a 20-seat, ADA-accessible shuttle bus,” said Jim Denbow, superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County. “This donation will allow the VAC to expand on the previous services of the 14-passenger van, allowing more than 6,000 veterans free rides to Hines VA Hospital. The VAC has services available for the 41,783 Will County veterans.”
Glasgow recognized the crucial need for improved transportation and looked for a resourceful way to secure the funding necessary to purchase the vehicle for the veterans. The office began by scrutinizing state law governing the use of funds seized under the Money Laundering Statute.
After that review, the state’s attorney determined that this money, which is forfeited to the state by convicted criminals who were engaged in narcotics or money laundering, could be used appropriately to enforce the Americans With Disabilities Act and various state and federal laws that provide for comprehensive medical treatment to veterans.
Glasgow also took steps to ensure that the comfortable new shuttle bus will include a DVD player so veterans can view educational programs and/or movies during the ride to and from Hines. The system, which will be installed in the near future, is being donated by SS Automotive Group/Joliet with assistance from Bill Jacobs Chevrolet.
The state’s attorney also collaborated with Tom White, president/business manager of Teamsters Local 179, to arrange for a roster of retired commercially licensed drivers to volunteer to drive the new bus.
The Veterans Assistance Commission of Will County also provides advocacy services and emergency financial assistance to military veterans and their families.