Members of the Tech. Sgt. William B. Snell Post #7186 and their spouses with members of the Auxiliary Snell Post at the Annual Patriotic Breakfast.Photo by Heidi Randhava

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Technical Sergeant William B. Snell Post 7186 hosted its annual Patriotic Breakfast on April 29 at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Post has been serving the Evanston community and beyond since 1946.

Post Commander Brian Beatty welcomed an enthusiastic crowd of about 200 veterans and guests, including Mayor Stephen Hagerty and County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who thanked the William Snell Post veterans for “instilling pride, confidence, and optimism” in the Evanston community.

Guest speaker and United States Navy veteran James Harkins said he works to honor his fellow veterans by always showing respect. Mr. Harkins told the audience, “I can sum up my military career in three words: honor, courage and commitment. These are the U.S. Navy core values.” Mr. Harkins said that he saw many examples of military men and women risking and sometimes sacrificing their own lives to save the lives of others.

When speaking about what commitment means to him, Mr. Harkins said, “The base of my commitment was that person in front of me, that person beside me, and the person behind me.”

After serving for 22 years in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Harkins retired in 2010, and became a member of the Evanston Vet Center, Department of Veteran Affairs, serving as Military & Veteran Outreach Specialist. During his active service, he participated in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Additionally, he completed eight sea deployments in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

In addition to hosting the annual Patriotic Breakfast, the William Snell Post provides a wide range of monetary and community support services to organizations such as Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center summer camps and after- school programs, Foster Senior Club, the Neediest Children’s Fund of Evanston and V.F.W. National Home.

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.