O’FALLON – Jim Sabella, co-owner and operator of Wolfersberger Funeral Home, was nominated as an Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial Honor 200 recipient.
The Bicentennial Honor 200 honors the work of 200 veterans from more than 50 counties across the state of Illinois.
Nominees were evaluated based on their achievements and how their contributions as veterans have benefitted their community.
“I was pretty humbled,” Sabella said of being selected as an Honor 200 recipient.
Sabella is a retired Air Force veteran who belongs to the VFW Post 805 and volunteers along with other community veterans.
One of the ways Sabella serves the community is by giving veterans shuttle rides to V.A. hospitals in St. Louis three to four times a month.
“I do a lot of different things but theres some guys, especially the retired men and women – they do a lot of volunteering, so I was humbled.”
“It’s a great honor – I’m glad that someone is recognizing 200 people that are volunteering,” he said.
Sabella said that while he was in the Air Force, he was able to receive his college degree and then applied for officer training and became an officer.
“I was enlisted for five years and was an officer for the next 16 years and I retired with 21 years of service,” he said. “Scott Air Force Base was my last duty station.”
Sabella said that surrounding communities are very supportive of the men and women that work at the base as well as their families.
“The communities that surround the base are really supportive, which is really comforting and welcoming,” Sabella said. “I am not originally from this area – but I feel like I am now. That’s how the community makes us feel.”
Sabella said that there are a lot of veterans who are no longer active duty members of the military and retirees that decide to stay and live in Shiloh and O’Fallon permanently.
Sabella was nominated as a Honor 200 recipient by Marion Rose of the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Looking Glass Prairie chapter.
All of the Honor 200 recipients have been invited to attend the state of Illinois’ 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on December 3. Sabella said that he is going to try and attend the event.