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Monday, October 5, 2015

Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education Opens at the University of Illinois

Senator Kirk Statement on the Dedication of the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education at the University of Illinois
from a Press Release from Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk | Oct 2, 2015

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today released the following statement on the Dedication Ceremony for the University of Illinois’ new Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The Center’s dedicated staff provides support services to help veterans with disabilities realize their potential through educational innovations and research breakthroughs. The featured student speaker, Sergeant Garrett Anderson (retired), is one of Senator Kirk’s Battle Buddies:

"The University of Illinois has a long history of bringing our wounded veterans out of the dark. Beginning with innovator Tim Nugent and his curb cut, the campus has pioneered accessibility for Wounded Veterans. The Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education is the next step in U of I remaining the best choice for soldiers seeking higher education, like my Battle Buddy Garrett."

In April 2015, Senator Kirk and individuals from his Battle Buddies initiative, a statewide support group to inspire and motivate individuals who have suffered health setbacks or are disabled, climbed stairs at the University of Illinois’ Timothy Nugent Hall. Garrett Anderson, who attended this Battle Buddies event, is currently enrolled in the Rehabilitation Counseling master's program at U of I where he also serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education.

Anderson is a retired Sergeant from Champaign who served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army from 1998-2006. In 2005, he was injured when an improvised explosive devise (IED) detonated under the humvee that he was driving. He lost an arm and suffered trauma to his face. Anderson spent 8 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., while recovering from his injuries. Following his retirement from the Army, Anderson received his degree in Criminal Justice.

On July 29th, 2015, Senator Kirk and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced S. 1863, the Timothy Nugent Congressional Gold Medal Act honoring Tim Nugent, an Illinois innovator, tireless advocate for disabled individuals throughout the country and Kirk Battle Buddy. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.-13) introduced companion legislation in the House. Nugent founded the first higher educational program for wounded and disabled soldiers after World War II at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and became a pioneer in architectural accessibility, designing curb cuts and wheelchair-accessible bus routes for students. The Congressional Gold Medal, bestowed by the United States Congress, is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Source: www.kirk.senate.gov

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