Bottigliero emphasizes serving others
At the Veterans Assistance Center in Norridge, Director Frank Bottigliero shifts through the paperwork for veterans benefits.| Michael Sean Comerford~for Sun-Times Media
NAME: Frank Bottigliero
KNOWN AS: Director of
veterans affairs for Norridge and Harwood Heights
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:29AM
Being in a military hospital during World War II, Frank Bottigliero said gave him insights into the realities and humanity of military service.
However, at Sunday’s Norridge Veterans Memorial Program, which starts at noon at the Veterans Memorial, he predicts the tears will not well in his eyes.
“I don’t get emotional (at such events),” he said. “My entire life has been spent helping veterans and their families ... So I know what it means too.”
Bottigliero is director of veterans affairs for both Norridge and Harwood Heights.
A Chicago kid, he started volunteering with the Veterans Affairs office in Illinois before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Bottigliero, who declined to give his age, was 23-years-old and newly married when he joined.
“All you have to say about me is I’m a veteran of WWII,” he said. “I used my GI Bill of Rights to get an education. I went to the Veterans Administration to file claims for veterans. And I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Of course, there is way more to tell about Bottigliero but like so many veterans he doesn’t like talking about his service.
He served with the 8th U.S. Air Corps’ 363rd Bomb Squadron but last week, at least, all he wanted to talk about were veterans whom he’s spent all his adult life caring for.
He rose to become the state director of Veterans Affairs and rehabilitation, supervising more than 1,000 employees. He later worked for the federal Veterans Administration.
Bottigliero’s job is to help veterans get their benefits and, sometimes, their medals.
However, that’s not the only people he’s helping.
“We help not only the veterans, but their families, wives, widows, children,” said Bottigliero, whose territory includes Leyden Township.
The aim of his office, Bottigliero said, is to cut through the mountains of paperwork veterans and their loved-ones have to go through in order to get benefits.
His favorite metaphor for what he does is a supermarket. The federal government is the grocer while veterans are customers.
The Veterans Assistance Center in Norridge, he said, helps the customer.
“We’re a one-stop shop,” he said.