HAMMOND | Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and WJOB radio station owners Jim and Alexis Dedelow and staff received the first Certificate of Appreciation Citizen Soldier Awards on Thursday.
The award was created by WJOB Veterans Views radio show crew Ernie Dillon, Bill Emerson, Patrick O'Donnell, Don Shults and Dennis Shults. The term "citizen soldier" means someone who is not a veteran or member of the military but serves soldiers and veterans through projects, charities and other support.
"I see it as being very valuable," Emerson said. "When I returned from Vietnam, there wasn't any support. The war was unpopular and people avoided us all together.
"Now, with the soldiers from Iraq, people may disagree with the war, but they are supporting and helping the veterans and soldiers. You need the citizens behind you."
Buncich was given the award for his work in trying to establish a veterans court in Lake County. Jim and Alexis Dedelow and the WJOB staff are being awarded for their support of Veterans Views and other projects.