SPRINGFIELD - Laurie Emmer assumed command of the Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars in June. She is the first female state commander and the first Afghanistan veteran to command the Illinois VFW. Due to the COVID-19 virus, a state convention was not held this year.
Emmer served honorably in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 2005, retiring as a Sergeant First Class Medic. She earned her eligibility to the Veterans of Foreign Wars after deploying to Afghanistan with Task Force 504, 82d Airborne Division in 2003 and with earlier service in the Republic of Korea.
During her service, Emmer earned the Combat Medical Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, Pathfinder Tab, and Senior Parachutist Badge. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal 6th award, Army Achievement Medal 9th award, National Defense Service Medal 2d award, Korea Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
The new commander is a Gold Legacy Life Member of Sycamore Post 5768 where she served in various positions including post commander and earning All State Post Commander Honors. Emmer was also the All American Commander of the 19th District, VFW State Surgeon for two years and was a National Aide de Camp.
Commander Emmer lives in Sycamore with her husband, Mike who is a Retired Army Sergeant First Class. She has four children, two of whom are veterans, and five grandchildren.