Mary Roberson, Executive Director of the Northern Illinois Recovery Community Organization (NIRCO) and Social Services Supervisor for Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation runs the Veterans Cup-A-Joe in Waukegan on Mondays at the JIC Community Development Center at 202 Genesee St. in Waukegan.

Over the past three years, Dr. Mary has developed the ideal Cup-A-Joe Veteran environment for her Cup-A-Joe meetings. It promotes Veteran wellbeing by using social interaction amongst Vets. The ethos is inviting and caring.  It is warm, welcoming, respectful, and open to each other.   In fact, it is the best of the four weekly Cup meetings in Lake County even though Waukegan’s meet only once a month due to schedules.

Nostalgia: The Vets in Earlier Days

Daisy Perez usually leads her Patriotic Painting class for Veterans at her Lake Villa coffee shop, Daisy’s ARTish Café.

But at the request of Dr. Mary, Daisy held a special class at the JIC Center in Waukegan on November 1st so that Veterans in that area would be treated to a special evening to honor Veterans in advance of Veterans Day on November 11th.


          Fantastic Self-Portrait                                The Supplies                                   Carlos and Daisy Perez

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation and NIRCO provided the food and refreshments, courtesy of Mission Barbeque. Daisy and her husband Carlos provided the paint, brushes, canvases, protective smocks, and expertise.    And the attendees provided the fun while learning how to paint.  Even those who had never picked up a paint brush before managed to complete a personal work of art.

The Finished Product and Producers!

“The Veterans of the Waukegan Cup-A-Joe had a phenomenal time,” said Dr. Mary, “There was a lot of laughter and good times. And even the more experienced painters learned something new.  Daisy and Carlos were spectacular. They were very conscientious and attentive to the needs of everyone attending.  We are very grateful to them both.” 

Thank you to Dr. Mary, Deb Lewis for the photography and logistics, the JIC Center and Mission Barbeque for putting on a night to remember for our Veteran Community.