We Help Service Members and Families

in Lake and Southern Kenosha Counties with care services, family support, peer counseling and camaraderie.
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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

Postvention — VA offers support after suicide loss

Veterans have a significantly higher suicide rate than other adults in the U.S. This means Veterans are also more likely to have known someone who took their own life. Uniting for Suicide Postvention (USPV) helps make sense of a suicide loss. The program connects...

What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Planning is underway at VA to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. VA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a phased plan based on five core ethical pillars: safety, maximizing the benefit of the vaccine,...

Customer Experience Milestone: VA launches new Electronic Health Record System

In a landmark event for Veteran health care, VA rolled out its new electronic health record system Oct. 24 at select medical facilities in the Pacific Northwest. This technology will help create a better health care and patient experience for Veterans. The EHR will be...

FHCC Caregiver Support News

Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center The @DeptVetAffairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers has begun to expand eligibility to Veterans of earlier eras. Read more, or contact our FHCC Caregiver support office at: 224-610-2273...


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.

Commemorative Tee Shirt

For Completing RuckUp2020 We Have Sent These

Gifts of Recognition for Your Personal Achievement

Those We Have Helped

“We’re learning something new while Daddy’s away.”  Mother and daughter take archery lessons together.

When LCVFSF began offering free archery lessons, it caught the attention of Navy spouse Elizabeth Hernandez.  “When my husband Eliseo is deployed, my daughter and I try to find something to do together so we can show him what we’ve done while he’s gone.”

Eleven-year old Isela finds archery challenging and fun, Elizabeth says. “She’s working hard to show Daddy what she’s accomplishing.  We’re both learning a lot about the sport and about ourselves.”

Both Elizabeth and Isela plan to continue the lessons at least until Eliseo is scheduled to comes home in December.  

If you are interested in learning more about free archery lessons, call LCVFSF at 847-986-4622.

Debra Lewis retired from the Navy in 2010.  But she’s found a new military family by attending LCVFSF’s Cup-A-Joe, a gathering of people who share coffee, camaraderie and connection 

“Even after a long day, I really look forward to Cup-A-Joe because it’s just like going home to family,” said Debra.  “Everyone there has the common bond of military service, so people connect and conversations flow.

“For two hours, you can escape ‘the new normal’ and Covid and enjoy being around others just like you.  It’s re-energizing.”

Debra attends the Cup-A-Joe held on the first and third Mondays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the JIC Multipurpose Center, 202 South Genesse Street, Waukegan.

LCVFSF is all about connecting.  Sometimes a face-to-face conversation.  Going to Cup-A-Joe is like “coming home to family”.

For the past two years, an Island Lake man has been on a mission.  He gathers and refurbishes used computers and then donates them to a charity that help Veterans get jobs.

Paul Gerdes seeks out old computers, then cleans them up and installs equipment that makes them operate as good as new. He started by donating a few of his finished products to Mitch Siegel, who works as a Job Developer for Catholic Charities.

The laptops and desktops grew over the past few months to a total of 40.  “We’re grateful to Paul for his generosity and commitment to helping Veterans,” Mitch said.  “It’s a time in which more and more people are working from home.  These computers are essential to making that happen.”

If you have a computer you’d like to donate, please contact Paul at jstechproducts@mailfence.com


DryHootch Coffee Center

100 So. Atkinson, Suite 110
Grayslake, Illinois 60030

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