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LTC Joe Schweickert

2008, Friend of 4-H Award

LTC Joe Schweickert

LTC Joe Schweickert is the family program director for the Illinois National Guard and is based at Camp Lincoln in Springfield. In his role of family program director, LTC Schweickert provides leadership and supervision for the Illinois National Guard State Youth Program and also the seven regions making up the Family Readiness Program.

The Illinois National Guard Family Program focuses on helping family members cope with being separated from their soldier during extended temporary duty, field problems, and deployments. This support addresses every phase of the deployment cycle. The Illinois National Guard has joined the University of Illinois 4-H program as a key partner in the Illinois Operation Military Kids (OMK) program. OMK provides a state and local community support network that delivers a wide range of recreational, social, and educational programs for military youth living in civilian communities.

When Operation Military Kids became a reality three years ago, the life experiences of youth from military families was very foreign to those in the 4-H world. While 4-H understood the adversity typically faced by youth, the additional challenges faced by children of military families was a new paradigm. LTC Schweickert's leadership on the OMK Team has helped to foster critical partnerships and bridge relationships with both civilian partners as well as all branches of the military. LTC Schweickert has been the rock that Illinois 4-H has depended on to learn about the military world, the added responsibilities assumed by military children, and how to support these young people who stand proud and strong as they watch a parent walk into a world where they cannot follow. LTC Schweickert has been a true "Friend of 4-H" as we have worked together to support these remarkable young people. His strong communication skills and genuine concern for military families and youth have allowed 4-H to significantly impact a whole new audience.

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