We Help Service Members and Families

in Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha Counties with care services, family support, peer counseling and camaraderie.
Get In TouchGet Involved

Our Vision

Our Vision is to embed community developed services that provide 100% care for service Members and their families throughout our counties by establishing a network of certified services, volunteer Veterans and certified Veteran Peer Support Specialists.

Our Mission

Our mission is to connect Service Members and their families with each other and to the resources and benefits, they earned and deserve, free and confidentially regardless of discharge status. Through our professionally trained Veteran Peer Specialists, we provide “help from those who’ve been there” for support services, counseling, program resources, and a sense of hope and purpose.

Our Approach

The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation is a 501c (3) non-profit organization founded in 2012. Originally a Department of Health and Human Services grant, today we are 100% funded by private donations which means we need your help to serve those in our Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha Counties who have served, sacrificed, and continue to struggle emotionally, financially and vocationally Through our professionally trained Veteran Peer Specialists, we provide “Help from Those Who’ve Been There” for support services, counseling, program resources, and a sense of hope and purpose.

Guiding Principles

Peer Support

Peer support is an essential component for our success. Those who have been there are the ones who can truly understand and guide someone through recovery from the impact of their military experiences.

A Community of Care

Community support is not bound by legal or traditional military restrictions. When issues emerge that affect our target consumer, we will engage all those affected.

Volunteerism and Employment

We believe that employment and volunteer work are significant contributors to an improved feeling of worthiness and normalcy for our target consumer.  Our focus is to develop these principles of connection in our community for veterans and their families.

Family Integrity

Our primary goal prior to, during, and after deployment is to keep families intact, engaged, and flourishing. We acknowledge support persons as a part of the family to be included in the process.


All interventions will be confidential, and any discussion or dissemination of information associated with the interaction of our programs or partners will be consumer-controlled.

Suicide and Homeless Prevention

Our support of programs that thwart suicide and homelessness is grounded in the value of developing the individual’s hope that things can get and stay better.


We will support programs that recruit, train, and certify the next generation of trauma-informed providers of our transformational care.

The Very Latest from LCVFSF

A Way Out of Addiction

Addiction sufferers once again have “A Way Out”. Treatment resources now available “24/7” in many area police departments. Those seeking help will not be charged criminally. MORE  

Gone virtual, Ruck Up 2020 raises awareness of veteran suicide.

by Jami Kunzer, photo by Candace H. Johnson

The fourth annual Lake County Ruck March won’t look like it has in the past, but efforts to honor veterans lost to suicide remain strong.

Instead of gathering on one day to walk together, participants will cover 22 kilometers each in a span of 22 days as part of the new virtual event, Ruck Up 2020, hosted by Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation. Along with the distance and time frame, the number 22 represents the number of vets who take their lives each day.

When Marla Rivera thinks about that number, she thinks about her fiancé, Juan Mendez, a combat veteran who spent 14 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I know that Juan has dealt with those demons that some of our veterans have dealt with, and I know there was a time this could have been him,” she said.

Connected Care a boon for Veterans during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the daily lives of Veterans across the country. This includes how they are connecting with their VA health care teams. They are increasingly using VA technologies such as My HealtheVet, VA’s online health portal, and VA...

COVID and Domestic Violence Update

The Crisis Line at “A Safe Place” is ringing a lot more these days, a possible result of Covid-19. “We went from 14 calls a week to 103,” said Damaris Lorta, Chief Development Officer of the Zion-based organization committed to helping victims of domestic violence....

Care during Covid-19

The Lake County Ruck March is a 22-day Challenge in 2020.  Register and Donate Now to support our safe distance virtual annual fundraising event. #RUCKUP2020CARRYING ON AMID COVID-19 In the fast-changing public safety environment, we want to state what the Lake County...


We foster a community of care for serving the needs of Lake County Veterans and Families.

A community is only as strong as those who build it, and we need your help in the form of funding and volunteer services in order to sustain our objectives which are:

  • Connect Veterans with each other and the resources they need and deserve through a bond of trust.
  • Reduce the time it takes for a warrior to ask for help.
  • Provide 100% free and confidential services to Military, Veterans, Service Members, and their Families with service-related issues through a strong peer support network.
  • Educate and counsel families supporting Veterans or Service Members through trauma-informed care.
  • Raise competency in trauma-informed care.
  • Reduce Veteran hospitalizations.
  • Provide a safe environment for those in need to reduce the stigma associated with their needs.


• Post-traumatic Stress
• Domestic Violence
• Children’s Emotional Issues
• Legal Issues
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
• Substance Abuse
• Mood Issues, Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, Anxiety, Hopelessness
• Adjustment related to Deployment, Re-Deployment, Discharge or Reintegration
• Grief
• Education, Employment and Vocational Support
• Financial Support
• Housing/Homelessness


Accomplished in 2019

Measuring Our Mission

by the Numbers


People In Contact

Cases Handled

Dry Hooch Visits


2019 Increase in People Helped

Veterans Suicide

Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more likely.

For years the number 22 represented the number of veterans committing suicide every day.  

In fact, the total number of suicides among veterans has increased four of the last five years on record. From 2007 to 2017, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped almost 50 percent.

Veteran Leadership

“The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation is guided and staffed by Veterans who have been there. “

Now and over the coming years, many Veterans, military members, and their families will go through a transition to the civilian world.  Many will need support and guidance. Warrior training makes it difficult for them to reach out for help. We want to make it easier and safer by providing support guided and provided by those who’ve been there.

How You Can Help

Our services are 100% free to service members and families and we rely 100% on private donations to provide them. 

Our most significant community awareness and fundraising event is the annual Lake County Ruck March.  

This year, Lake County Veterans and Families need our help more than ever, and this year, we are seeking as many members of the community as possible to register for what is now a self-motivated 22-day challenge.  Every registrant is then encouraged to raise donations to support their participation and thus, to fund our critical care programs and services for the year ahead.

Commemorative Tee Shirt

Those We Have Helped

Angela O. called HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing) seeking housing help.  The agency recommended contacting Lake County Veterans and Family Service Foundation.  She called and spoke with Veteran Peer Specialist Juan Mendez.

“I spoke to Juan about our family’s need for help with food and gas,” Angela said. The foundation provided emergency assistance for the family’s basic needs and referred the Veteran to a local Veteran Service Officer to assist with her VA claim appeal.

Angela said that Juan calls her regularly to ask how she’s doing. He’s currently helping her find housing that’s more accessible for her wheelchair. “He’s just been fantastic,” Angela said.

Angela O. discovered that LCVFSF doesn’t just answer the phone, it listens and helps guide the way to a better life.

Three local Veterans had a choice: march 22 K over 22 days, or they could march it all in one day, about four hours worth of physical punishment.

“We want to march all 22 K in one day because we think it will attract more attention,” said Navy Veteran Chris D. “We want to attract as much attention as we can to the tragic loss of 22 Vets every day to suicide.”

Accompanied by John Andrews and Tomas Flores, the trio will meet at Savanah Rollins Forest Preserve at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 12th to complete Ruck 2020. They will be supported by Annette Monk and Elena Robinson, professionals in the Masters of Athletic Training Program at Trinity International University. Annette and Elena will provide medical support .

“We invite everyone to come out to cheer us on, or even to march with us.,” Chris said.

Lake County Veterans and Family Support Foundation will be on hand to cheer. Join us in the parking lot of Savannah Rollins at the corner of Washington and Atkinson Road in Grayslake at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 12th.

On September 12th, three Veterans will march nearly 14 miles to get your attention. They think that pushing physical limits is worth it, especially now.

Patty learned about the foundation nearly three years ago when she and her husband were seeking help for their son Dean who was struggling with PTSD. 

“I was looking for help for Dean, but also for us as caregivers” Patty explained. “The foundation has the name “family” in its title. It came up when I did a search.  We got immediate and effective help at a critical time for our family. We learned that we weren’t alone.”

Patty and Kevin attended Service Connections, a meeting of other caregivers sharing what was going on, what was working and what wasn’t.  “I learned that you don’t ‘get over’ PTSD,” she said.  “You don’t fix it. You learn how to live with it.”

As her family began to heal, Patty looked for ways to “give back”, so she joined the Board. 

LCVFSF helped a family re-connect with their troubled son after his multiple deployments.


DryHootch Coffee Center

100 So. Atkinson, Suite 110
Grayslake, Illinois 60030

Hours We’re Here

Mon-Fri: 10am – 5pm

Contact Us 24/7



Follow Us On Social