City of DeKalb named 2023 national Veteran City of the Year

Forty and Eight veterans organization selects DeKalb for its veterans tributes, downtown military banners

(Left to right); 40 & 8 Veteran City Award chair Mildrew Wright-Pierson and DeKalb Air Force veteran Michael Embrey

DeKALB – The city of DeKalb recently was named the 2023 national City of the Year by the Forty and Eight (40&8) veterans organization’s selection committee.

The award was accepted by U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Embrey at the 40&8 convention Sept. 12 to 16 in Sandusky, Ohio, according to a news release.

Embrey said he’s humbled daily by servicemen and women.

“Honoring your country and its veterans is more than a passing commitment,” Embrey said in the release. “It means you stand tall and still get goosebumps when you hear the national anthem being sung, and the spirit of patriotism lifts your heart when you fly the American flag for Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day.”

DeKalb was selected for its efforts to support, acknowledge and honor veterans and veteran families. The efforts include creating local veteran attractions, hanging military banners downtown and building the new DeKalb Veterans Memorial, 209 S. Annie Glidden Road.

U.S. Air Force veteran and Elks member Michael Embrey, of DeKalb, in front of the recently dedicated DeKalb Elks Veteran’s Memorial Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, in DeKalb.

DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes, a U.S. Army veteran, said he is proud of the city’s work to recognize veterans and thanked Embrey for his advocacy.

“As you drive around the city of DeKalb, you can see and experience a variety of veterans projects that the city has helped orchestrate and support,” Barnes said in a news release. “Embrey has been instrumental in pushing a campaign to get DeKalb selected as the state of Illinois and National Veteran City of the Year, to create local veteran attractions, military banners and, most recently, the new DeKalb Veterans Memorial located on the grounds of the DeKalb Elks Lodge – as well as new memorials and events yet to be announced. We are truly a veteran city with people who care.”

The award recognizes a community, town or city for its efforts to honor veterans or veteran families. The recipient must have performed outstanding service and brought honor to regional, state, local or national veterans programs.

“Our national award committee was extremely impressed with the efforts of the city of DeKalb supporting veterans and veteran projects,” 40&8 Award Chair Wayne Sorrentino said in a news release. “The city’s efforts to support not only veterans and veteran families but to get veterans honored and to acknowledge them in the community are outstanding.”

The 40&8 organization is an American independent honor society committed to charitable and patriotic goals.

For information, visit

Have a Question about this article?