Veterans group asks city of Aledo for $3,000

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The founder and executive director of Adonai Community Support Services, an organization designed to assist veterans, provided the Aledo City Council an annual update Monday (April 4) evening. Amy Hess also asked for $3,000 for Adonai.

Perhaps the biggest project undertaken by Adonai was announced by Hess during the council's Committee of the Whole meeting. The 501(3)(c) non-profit will begin accepting donations May 1 for a program known as Adonai Attic.

The "Attic" is a continuation of a program started by Douglas Dee of Rock Island about eight years ago. People donate furniture and appliances and veterans in need of those items can obtain them at no charge.

Hess said she's working on finding storage areas for the donations.

"I'm talking to two or three persons as to where that facility will be located," she told the aldermen. "That's a big deal.

"I am in constant need of these items," Hess told reporters outside the council chambers.

She said Dee started the program in his garage and eventually moved into an 8,000-square-feet facility.

"He's a Vietnam veteran," Hess, herself a veteran of 22 1/2 years in the military before she retired, said. "But he's grown sick and is unable to continue (his program).

She told members of the council that Adonai provides mental health and family support, helps veterans find employment, offers benefits counseling and transitional counseling for the move from military life to civilian status, among other things.

The organization is also helping veterans fly to Washington, D.C., on Honor Flights.

"They are now open to Vietnam veterans," Hess said.

Adonai also helps the homeless. While she said that work is mostly done in the Quad Cities, a surprising amount takes place in Mercer County.

She said much of the work is done in partnership with the American Legion and said Adonai is "very involved in collaboration with a lot of veterans groups."

There is also a Victory Garden to provides fresh vegetables to, among others, residents of Brookstone and other senior living center.

In its fourth year, Hess said Adonai's income last year was "well under $30,000," and depends on donations and fundraising. She said veterans are not charged for services and she takes no salary.

Mayor Chris Hagloch said the question of the city's contribution will first have to be discussed in committee, because it is not a budgeted item. The city has donated $2,000 in individual years in the past.

"One constant is there are veterans in need and another constant, there are people willing to donate," she said as she thanked the council for allowing her to present her annual update.