ILWG Unit Citation Award 2022
The Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), distinguished itself through its organizational and community response to the COVID-19 nationally declared pandemic emergency during the period 30 March 2020 through 31 July 2021 and ongoingly, including, but not limited to the disaster assistance efforts of its Members throughout the State of Illinois and the neighboring States of Indiana and Missouri and formation of the Wing’s COVID-19 Remobilization Committee.
Beginning in March of 2020 when the pandemic was declared as a National Emergency, the then Illinois Wing Commander, Colonel Robert M. Dempsey, Jr., established the COVID-19 Remobilization Committee. The composition of the 14-Member Committee included subject matter experts in the fields of CAP Unit and Wing command, medical, public safety, legal, operations, emergency services, cadet programs and public and private sector emergency management.
The Incident Management Team and our Wing Agency Liaison coordinated assistance requests from numerous community service agencies throughout the state. Through close collaboration with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, we ensured the Wing’s support efforts would be captured under the state’s disaster declaration. Likewise, the Wing’s Operation’s section engaged with the Great Lakes CAP-USAF Liaison Region and National Operations Center to secure disaster assistance activity coverage under a 1st Air Force mission number.
The dedicated volunteer Members of the Illinois Wing answered distress requests within their home communities and from the Wing’s regional neighbors in a sustained and enduring manner throughout the 16-months cited above. A virtual incident management team was formed to manage the volunteer sign-up process for multiple days/shifts and multiple locations across the state; assigning resources; tracking resources; public information; and NHQ situation reporting. Ten different Incident Commanders rotated through leading this prolonged multi-faceted response.
Illinois Wing’s community disaster assistance was truly a wing-wide effort, spanning the vast geography from North to South and neighboring states. Citizen volunteers representing 18 of Illinois Wing’s 24 units contributed to efforts at several service locations, with many of these volunteers serving several days and at multiple sites. A few of the community support functions include:
• Support of six Food Pantries and Food Distribution Centers in Chicago and surrounding counties (Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will, and DeKalb counties). Functions included food packaging, truck loading/unloading, traffic management, data-entry, and Spanish translation assistance (for families being serviced);
o Greater Chicago Food Depository
o Northern Illinois Food Bank (2 facilities) o 4 Kids Sake
o Lakeview Food Bank
o DuPage Township Food Pantry
Support for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Distribution Centers in Northwest
Support for PPE Distribution Centers in Metro-St Louis, Missouri
The following statistics capture the statewide effort of Illinois Wing volunteers in FY20 and FY21:
(20-1-5069) – Food Pantries and PODs - 75 volunteers; 695 people/days; 564,766 meals packed (for the PODs that reported packing figures); 8,440 families served (for PODs with family pick-up options);
(20-1-4897) – 20 ILWG volunteers supported Missouri PPE PODs
(20-1-5000) – 10 ILWG volunteers supported Indiana PPE PODs
(21-1-3287) – Food Pantries and PODs - 67 Volunteers; 720 people/days; 525,000
The dedicated efforts of the Illinois Wing Members, separate and distinct from the normal mission requirements of the unit, were an outstanding contribution to the response required during the COVID-19 pandemic national emergency and reflect great credit upon the Illinois Wing, its Members, and the Civil Air Patrol.
FOR THE NATIONAL COMMANDER
SUSAN P. PARKER
Director, Personnel & Member Actions