MORRIS – The Holiday Season is a time for family, friends, and helping those in need, especially those who, perhaps, have been forgotten. The Illinois State Police (ISP) would like to thank a concerned and compassionate citizen, Mark Mitchell, who stopped to assist a distressed driver, and who also offered words of thanks and support for ISP Trooper Arturo Resendez.

Earlier this week, Mitchell was driving from Morris to Seneca when they saw a truck that occasionally wandered out of its lane. Mitchell and his wife followed the truck, which pulled off to the side of the road and parked. Mitchell pulled over as well and when he checked on the driver, he learned he was a disabled Vietnam veteran who served two tours of duty and received two Purple Heart medals. Recognizing the veteran was having difficulty driving, Mitchell called ISP and Trooper Resendez arrived on scene.

“He treated the elderly gentleman with amazing empathy and care, going so far as thanking him for his service and sharing some of his own personal story by mentioning that he served in Afghanistan,” said Mitchell.

“Having served in Afghanistan and having teammates awarded the Purple Heart medal, I knew what that symbol meant and I have so much appreciation and respect for what this veteran has done for our country,” said Trooper Resendez. “I was happy to be able to make that connection through our military service and help put him at ease. It’s nice knowing there are still a lot of good people, like the Mitchells, in the world.”

With an approaching storm, Mitchell volunteered to drive the gentleman to his destination with his wife following in their vehicle. During that hour-long trip, Mitchell learned the veteran had been living hotel room to hotel room with an occasional night spent in his truck. In the true spirit of the Holiday Season, another disabled veteran who grew up with the gentleman and served in the war with him, took him in.

“I’ve always had tremendous respect for our first responders, public servants, and veterans, but that respect grew exponentially after seeing the genuine caring and empathy of the Illinois State Trooper who assisted us, and after traveling on an emotional hour-long trip with the elderly disabled veteran,” said Mitchell. “He, along with every other veteran and current military service member, are why we are able to enjoy the free lives that we live. Unfortunately, it seems like they are not always given the recognition and remembrance they whole heartedly deserve. I urge everyone to take the upcoming holiday season as a time to be grateful and thank our public service members, active military members, and veterans for all that they have done and continue to do.