Joliet honors local activist, WW II veteran Joe Belman as he turns 100

City issues proclamation for World War II veteran and local activist

Joe Belman stands with the proclamation issued in his honor by the Joliet City Council on his 100th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2022.

The city of Joiiet this week honored Joe Belman, a World War II veteran who was a longtime advocate for local causes, as he turned 100.

A proclamation in Belman’s honor was read on Tuesday, which was his birthday.

The proclamation noted Belman’s service as a gunner in the Army Air Corps in World War II as well as his return to the area taking leadership roles in the American G.I. Forum and Illinois Hispanic Democratic Council.

Belman has been active in governmental affairs and a leader in political causes for the Hispanic community. Most recently, he pushed for the proclamation of a Sator Sanchez Day to bring attention to the Joliet native, who lost his life in World War II and is recognized by the U.S. Army for his valor.

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday when the proclamation in his honor was read, Belman deferred to fellow veterans in the area who also have served their country.

“Being a veteran, I also want to let you know that the city of Joliet has so many more veterans, people who have stood up for their country,” Belman told the council. “I think more can be done for them.”

Belman also commended Mayor Terry D’Arcy saying that since 1992 D’Arcy “has supported me in every opportunity that I’ve had to help the community of Joliet.”

D’Arcy in turn commended Belman telling him, “You are a role model to me.”

Belman acknowledged he has been a Lockport resident for most of his life but active in political and community causes in Joliet. He now lives in Joliet.

Council member Larry Hug said he first met Belman in 2011 and said, “He’s done more since 2011 than most people do in a lifetime.”

Belman’s birthday was Tuedsday. But a 100th birthday celebration was held on the weekend, and a number of council members attended.