Former Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, ETHS senior Nolan Robinson, and  Mayor Steve Hagerty.

On April 30, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Tech/Sgt. Wm. B. Snell Post 7186 hosted its Annual Patriotic Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston. More than 200 people attended the event.

Post Commander Brian Beatty welcomed an attentive crowd of veterans and guests, including then-Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who said in her remarks that former mayor and special guest Lorraine Morton advised her early in her tenure not to miss the popular spring event. Ms. Tisdahl offered the same advice to newly elected mayor Steve Hagerty, who was also in attendance.

Guest speaker Curtis Dorsey was eloquent and at times humorous as he relayed the experiences, unique contributions, and sacrifices of black veterans. His tribute covered a timeline that spans the history of black soldiers from the American Revolution to present day military operations. In closing, Mr. Dorsey recognized VFW Snell Post member Byron Wilson, who was born in 1919 and served in the military from 1941 to 1945. “I applaud all the black veterans, because we know you paid a price,” said Mr. Dorsey.

Another highlight of the morning was an award given to Evanston Township High School senior Nolan Robinson for his participation in the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest, a worldwide competition sponsored by the national VFW. Nolan’s essay, “My Responsibility to America,” was recognized by the 4th District of the Illinois VFW. Auxiliary Snell Post President Gerri Sizemore presented Nolan with a plaque on behalf of the Auxiliary.

“History may be in the past, but so is yesterday, or a few hours ago, or even a few seconds ago, so what has happened in years past affects us just as much as the moments that have just passed. Respecting the dedication that others made in ensuring a future for this nation is part of my responsibility, and continuing it is the other half,” Nolan wrote in his essay.

Heidi Randhava

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.