President: Linda Zirzow was raised on a farm and is a retired teacher. She taught the Neglected and Delinquent Title I Program for adult, male felons in the Illinois Department of Corrections where she instructed inmate students to obtain GED’s. She has also taught in public, private, and college settings and holds Special Education supervisory endorsements for learning disabilities, social/emotional disorders, and physically challenged, as well as, reading, and language arts. Her interests include serving on her church finance board, participating in organic crop improvement, and practicing horticulture, apiculture, Reiki, hypnosis, reflexology, and therapeutic touch.
Linda is honoring her father who served “for the duration” of WWII in the Navy on a sub-chaser. Also, being honored is her daughter’s father who served during the Viet Nam Era in the Air Force as a weather observer. Linda wants to give back to those who have given SO much to their country. May God bless all the veterans.
Board member: Martha Vera was raised outside of Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Education from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and then earned a Master of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She taught Spanish in three different public high schools for 31 years, retiring in 1994. For the last twenty years of her high school teaching career, she supervised 10 other teachers while serving as head of the foreign language department in a large suburban high school. Since then, she has been teaching English as a Second Language, first at Waubonsee Community College, and for the last ten years at Illinois Valley Community College. She has 5 dogs and 8 cats which are her "kids." She is active in the music ministry at her church and enjoys oil painting and reading as hobbies.
Board member: Greg Jenkins is married, has one daughter, and lives in Ottawa, Illinois. He is co-owner of Draftech which is a contract design and drafting services company. Greg has served on the Deer Park Board of Directors and the Country Club Board for seven years. He is also on the Elder Board at his church.
Board member: Herschel Luckinbill was born in Oklahoma City, in 1945 and raised in a small, southern Oklahoma town. Herschel started working at a young age, first selling newspapers on the street and then with paper routes on his bicycle. Herschel has worked for a veterinarian cleaning animal stalls, in a clothing store, and for a printing firm to help with family finances.
After he graduated from Plainview High School in a class of 21 students, Herschel joined the Navy. He attended boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Base in 1964 and then went aboard the USS O’Brien DD-725, a destroyer that was home based in Long Beach, California. Herschel made two tours of duty to the shores of Vietnam while aboard the O’Brien.
On December 23, 1966 while operating in the Gulf of Tonkin, the O’Brien received three direct hits from Viet Cong shore battery. Two shipmates were killed (one that slept in the bunk right above where Herschel slept) and several others were wounded.
While still serving on the O’Brien, Herschel married the love of his life, Eva. He received his Honorable discharge in December 1967 and he and Eva started civilian life together back in Illinois. In June they will be celebrating their 48th year of marriage. They have lived in the Fox Valley area since 1978. Our 3 wonderful children and 7 grandchildren all live in the Aurora area, too. Eva is currently serving as Director of the Aurora Public Library and is building the magnificent new library downtown.
Herschel worked in the construction trades as a Sprinkler Fitter in the Fire Protection industry for 41 years before retiring in 2005. During his working years, he served as a Post and District Commander and the State Vietnam Coordinator of the Veteran of Foreign Wars. Herschel coached Pony League Baseball in Oswego for more than 10 years, and was active in the Oswego Jaycees, including serving as President.
Shortly after retiring, Herschel was invited to attend the Veteran’s Breakfast Club. One of the featured speakers at the club was a representative of the Chicago chapter of Honor Flight. This group flies WWII veterans – completely free of charge – to Washington, DC to see the beautiful monument that was erected in their honor. Volunteers were needed to serve as “guardians” for these men and women while on their one day journey. Herschel’s family gifted him with his first “guardian” flight and he was hooked. he made 24 trips after that. Then Herschel took on the role of fundraiser. He developed the Made in America Tour with country music recording star Ricky Lee and made over $32,500 for Honor Flight-Chicago with that effort. Overall, he has helped raise over $100,000 for that group.
After a couple of years Herschel was asked to take the lead of the Veterans Breakfast Club. More than 50 area veterans meet every other Thursday morning for breakfast. The fellowship and camaraderie is very special to the veterans. They keep an eye out for one another and lend a hand when needed. The programs and field trips provide stimulation and keep the veterans active. He has led the group to a Navy Boot Camp Graduation, a day at Cantigny, a day at The Mid-east Conflict Wall in Marseilles, IL and on June 6th 2014 the veterans visited Willis Tower (The Ledge), and Pritzker Military Library. A busy Veteran is usually happy & Healthy!!
Herschel especially enjoys visiting one -on -one with shut in veterans.
Retirement also meant more time to reconnect with his shipmates and getting involved in the annual ship’s reunions. He has served as USS O’Brien Reunion Association President since 2009. Herschel has hosted reunions in Chicago, Washington, DC, co-hosted the New Orleans reunion and is hosting the reunion in Branson, MO in September 2014.
He recently returned from a four day bus trip to DC with 360 veterans. This group, called Vets Roll, also takes Veterans free of charge to see their Memorials in Washington DC.
In 2013, Herschel was asked by a Montgomery Village official to try and help restore a deteriorating cannon that was in one of the local cemeteries. He took on the challenge, launched the Save Our Cannon Project, raised more than $8,000 and oversaw the restoration of the 1889 Spanish American War Cannon.
The greatest challenge and most rewarding project of all, was bringing the Vietnam Moving Wall to Aurora, IL in November 2013 (In honor of his two fallen Shipmates). It is estimated that over 200,000 people braved the often inclement weather to remember and honor the 58,282 casualties of that controversial war. The additional events during that week combined to make the 2013 Veteran’s Day week the most patriotic time in the Fox Valley history.