Belvidere community honors local veteran of the year

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - A local veteran who receives the highest honor in the state gets a celebration here in the Stateline while also leaving a legacy.

Michael Isham found out he won the state’s first veteran of the year award in May, but he couldn’t celebrate because he had COVID. Now his friends and family make sure they give him a proper celebration.

Dozens of community members celebrate Michael Isham, the recipient of the state’s first veteran of the year award after working with the Belvidere VFW Post 1461 for a couple of years.

“This is just as humbling and it was kind of a more of a special experience but I have my family here and my second family in the honor guard,” says Isham.

Rob Bland submitted the paperwork to nominate Isham for the honor. He says there is no better veteran for this award given his high presence in the community.

“It just shows how much support he has not just among the veterans but from his family to come out here and celebrate him for being the awesome veteran that he is,” says Bland.

“I don’t think of this as oh the bar is set so high. That’s my norm. I want to raise it higher next year and the year after that. I think all of us should, we are a cohesive unit.”

Isham says he does this because you have to depend on the community rather than the organization for support and carrying on the veteran legacy.

“If you need something done and he’s around. You don’t even need to ask Michael, he’ll just pitch in and start helping you, has a great partnership being able to talk to the younger veterans and helping the younger veterans. Very proud to know Michael,” says VFW Commander Greg Kelm.

Isham joined the VFW shortly after his grandfather passed away a few years ago. He was also a member of the Belvidere VFW.

Belvidere Mayor Clint Morris also praised the efforts of the local VFW and veteran of the year. Isham also received recognition from Senator Syverson’s office for this honor.

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