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Jeffrey Hastings, State Commander
Jeffrey Hastings was elected to the high office of State Commander at the 96th annual State Convention June 17, 2017 held in Springfield, Illinois.
Jeff served in the United States Air Force prior to joining the Missouri Air National Guard and later the Illinois Air National Guard, retiring in 2003 as a Vehicle Operations Superintendent.
Jeff earned his eligibility to the Veterans of Foreign Wars while deployed during Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch.
Hastings joined the Sgt. Charles A. Fricke Post 805 in O’Fallon, Illinois in 2001 where he maintains his life membership. He has served in a variety of positions at the Post level. Jeff served as the District 14 Commander during the 2010-2011 term, earning both All-State and All-American District Commander honors.
Jeff has served in a variety of positions at the State level – Membership Director; Chief of Staff; and the State Inspector during the 2015-2016 term.
Jeff and his wife, Kelly, have five children, including Brandi, who is serving in the United States Army and is a member of the VFW; and Anthony, serving in the United States Air Force, also a member of the VFW. They also have two grandchildren.
Don Boyer, State Senior Vice Commander
Don Boyer was elected to the high office of State Senior Vice Commander at the 96th State Convention held June 17, 2017 in Springfield, Illinois.
Don served in the United States Army from 1968-1976, earning his eligibility to the Veterans of Foreign War as a Combat Engineer assigned to the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion, 18th Brigade, with service in Vietnam in 1968-1969.
Boyer joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2003 and is a member of Harry E. Anderson Post 9545 in New Lenox, Illinois. Don has served in a variety of positions in the VFW, most notably serving as the District 18 Commander for eight of the last ten years.
Don and his wife, Kathy, have 11 children and 38 grandchildren.
Brad Gould, State Junior Vice Commander
Brad Gould was elected to the high office of Junior Vice Commander at the 96th annual State Convention June 17, 2017 held in Springfield, Illinois.
Brad served honorably in the United States Air Force from April 1981 until September 2002, retiring as Medical Logistics Superintendent (LOGDOG). Brad earned his eligibility to the Veterans of Foreign Wars having been awarded the Korean Defense Service Medal
Gould joined the Sgt. Charles A. Fricke Post 805 in 2000, transferring his membership to the Busey-Fletcher-Stillwell Post 630 in 2005, where he maintains his Gold Legacy Life Membership. He has served in a variety of positions at the Post level, including Commander from 2008-2010 and 2012-2014, earning All-State Post Commander honors on two separate occasions, Brad served as the District 7 Commander during the 2010-2011 term.
Brad has served at the State level as the Assistant State Adjutant from 2011-2017
Brad and his wife, Shana, have four children and three grandchildren. Brad and Shana reside in Rantoul, IL. Brad also serves as the Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Champaign County.
Mike DeRoss, State Adjutant/Quartermaster
Mike was elected to the high office of State Quartermaster and appointed as Adjutant at the 96 Annual State Convention on June 17, 2017 held in Springfield IL.
DeRoss served in the United States Air Force from 1975-1986 earning Four Air Force Commendation Medals, One Air Force Achievement Medal, The Korea Defense Medal and other awards. Mike recently retired from the Chicago Public School system where he taught for 22 years.
DeRoss is a life member of PFC Ted Stempien Post 8821 in Chicago IL where he was a two time All State Commander. He served two terms as the 3rd District Commander earning All State status once. Mike has held a number of other positions in both his Post and District. He has served as Voice of Democracy Director for the last few years.
Mike is married and has two children including his daughter Michelle who is currently on active duty in the US Army.
C. Victor Smith, State Judge Advocate
Victor joined the Guthrie Pierce VFW Post 1239 in Beardstown, Illinois in 1964 where he is a Life Member. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1953 and served until June 1977 where he was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He served aboard the USS Gearing DD710 as a First Class Petty Officer during the Cuban Blockade in 1962, aboard the USS Mahan, DLG 11 as a Chief Petty Officer offshore in Vietnam in 1964, aboard the USS Piedmont AD17 offshore Vietnam in 1969 as a Master Chief Petty Officer and as part of the Mobile Training Team TAD in Korea, in 1975.
He has served as his Post Commander, Quartermaster, Adjutant, been a Tenth District Commander, Junior Vice Commander, Trustee, Judge Advocate and has served as the State Assistant Judge Advocate, Parliamentarian, Legislative Director and representative to Quincy Veterans Home Advisory Council. On the National Level he has served as Aide-de-Camp, and as a member of the National Legislative Committee.
He is married to his lovely wife, Nikki and they have five children. They reside in Frederick, Illinois.
Laurie Emmer, Department Surgeon
Laurie Emmer was elected to the high office of State Surgeon at the 96th State Convention held June 17, 2017 in Springfield, Illinois.
Laurie served in the United States Army from 1983 to 2005, retiring as a Medic. She earned her eligibility to the Veterans of Foreign Wars after deploying to Afghanistan with Task Force 504, 82d Airborne Division in 2003.
Laurie first joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Fayetteville, NC, later transferred to a post in Columbus, GA, and now maintains her life membership at Sycamore Post 5768 in Sycamore, Illinois. She served in a variety of position at her post to include All State Post Commander, a variety of positions at the 19th District to include All American District Commander and was elected to the high office of State Surgeon at the 95th State Convention.
Laurie is married to Mike, a retired United States Army Infantryman who earned his eligibility his Veterans of Foreign Wars eligibility deploying to the Gulf War, Somalia and Iraq, He is a life member of Sycamore VFW Post 5768. Laurie had 4 children; Kevin, Christina an Army veteran married to Joseph an active duty member of the US Army and Afghanistan Veteran, Andrew an Afghanistan veteran and life member of Sycamore VFW Post 5768, and Kaylie a member of the Sycamore VFW Post 5768 Auxiliary. Laurie has 4 grandchildren.
Reverend Donald Meeks, Department Chaplain
Rev. Donald Meeks enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17, and after serving our country for 21 years, retired as a Chief Petty Officer in 1991. During his Navy career, Rev. Meeks was awarded the National Defense Service Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Navy Sea Deployment Ribbon, Navy Achievement Medal; Navy Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
While in the military, Rev. Meeks gave his life to Jesus, began working faithfully in a small community church called Miracle Deliverance Temple. There he served as choir director and was appointed president of the Men’s Ministry and served as head of transportation.
In 1981, then Brother Meeks returned to the Chicago area in a recruiting assignment for the U.S. Navy. The Lord led him to Monument of Faith Evangelistic Church under the leadership of Apostle Richard Daniel Henton. Rev. Meeks began his work at Monument in the choir, later joining the Singing Men of Monument and was placed as lead tenor in the tenor section of the main choir. Shortly after that, he was appointed to lead the Men’s Ministry at the church.
As time progressed, the Lord moved Apostle Henton to ordain Brother Meeks as a Minister. After he received certificates of training in biblical studies from his Pastor, Rev. Meeks began the journey of creating his own personal ministry.
Rev. Meeks developed and heads a much needed Public Relations Department in the church, serves in the Homeless Ministry, and has a Personal Street Ministry. He also manages “The Men of Destiny” a male gospel-singing group, birthed out of a Homeless Ministry on the west side of Chicago where Rev. Meeks taught the bible every Monday afternoon.
Rev. Meeks and his wife, Patricia, have been married for more than 34 years. They have five daughters, two sons and many grandchildren.
Rev. Meeks is also a licensed realtor under Richmond GMAC, and licensed Insurance professional under Pri merica Financial Planning.