Ranger Earns Military Honor
Paul Hettich, a Lake County Forest Preserve ranger police officer, was recently honored for his military accomplishments. Hettich, a part-time ranger for 30 years, was selected as an Illinois Bicentennial Honor 200 Veterans recipient.
Hettich, an Army Reserve Officer, retired as a Colonel in the fall of 2017 after serving 30 years.
The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Governor's Office of the Illinois Bicentennial honored the work of Hettich last week along with other veterans who continue to make extraordinary contributions to the people of Illinois.
"America is the greatest nation on earth because of the sacrifice of our veterans," said Governor Bruce Rauner. "We are proud to honor these 200 men and women as part of our Bicentennial celebration. Their service didn't stop when they took off their uniforms. They continue to be heroes among us by going above and beyond the call of duty to take care of the people in their communities."
The Honor 200 award nominations were evaluated on the achievements and contributions made by the honorees that have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their local communities and fellow veterans. "Through your past experiences, both on and off the battlefield, you embodied these virtues to the greatest extent and exemplified the meaning of selfless service, courage and compassion," a director with the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs said.
Hettich said his highlights in serving were his five combat deployments that included three missions to Iraq, Bosnia/Kosovo and Djibouti, Africa.
Hettich, 53, resides in Antioch. He said working in law enforcement over the years as a Lake County Forest Preserve ranger police officer has provided a "nice transition" for him while serving as an Army Reserve Officer. Coming from a military family, his father and brother are both veterans, Hettich said it was a privilege to receive the military honor last week. "I am honored, humbled and privileged to have served our nation in combat amongst so many other combat veterans, especially those who did not return," he said.