McHenry County Board mourns Joe Kersten, longtime Veterans Assistance Commission chair

The original Woodstock American Legion charter draped in memory of Joe Kersten at the McHenry County Board room Dec. 19, 2023

The McHenry County Board honored Joe Kersten, the longtime chair of the Veterans Assistance Commission of McHenry County who died last week.

The ceremony was held before the board meeting, and most of the board attended. Board members Carl Kamienski and Lou Ness, who previously have teamed up on veterans initiatives, led the ceremony.

As part of the tribute, a copy of the original charter of the Woodstock American Legion, which Kersten was part of, was draped in black bunting.

The draped charter remained in place during the County Board meeting, and board chair Mike Buehler, who attended the ceremony, also asked for a moment of silence to honor Kersten during the meeting.

“He dedicated his life not only through his service to our country but also as a tireless advocate for ensuring that McHenry County’s veterans had access to the benefits they earned through their service to our country,” Buehler said.

“Joe, your tour is ended. May you rest in peace,” Ness said during the ceremony.

Kersten, who was 75 and a Woodstock resident, grew up in Wonder Lake and Greenwood and was a graduate of Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock, according to his obituary.

He enlisted in the Army in 1969, served in the 213th Engineer Detachment in Vietnam and later established his own long-haul freight service, Woodstock Express. He spent 40 years working with veterans’ groups.

Survivors include his wife Diane and three children.