The Maywood Care Center (MCC) did not wait until Memorial Day weekend to honor its veterans nor advocate for safer streets on their behalf.

MCC is a multi-level senior living facility located in the Austin neighborhood at 5905 W. Washington Ave.

MCC administrators and staff invited 29th Ward Ald. Chris Taliaferro to an award ceremony for several of the veterans residing inside the nursing home’s walls. Honorees received a lapel pin depicting two United States flags waving in opposite directions and a certificate of accomplishment for their service in one of the branches in the United States’ armed forces. The certificate included a seal from the the branch of the military in which the honoree served.

Andrea Williams, activity director at MCC, said it’s important to recognize veterans for their service and mentioned that one of the honorees shed tears of joy during the ceremony.

Eunice Sanders, director of business development and marketing for Everest Health Care, described veterans as “our forgotten communities.” She said she’s working to certify the building through the United States’ Department of Veterans Affairs.

“What we’re doing is starting a new thing for our facility of recognizing our veterans who are in our building,” said Sanders.

Ald. Taliaferro called the invitation to the ceremony a “honor” and congratulated the award recipients and their families for their service. He said he served with the National Guardsman and in the U.S. Marine Corps. He pledged to make sure all veterans have access to all available resources and services.

“I think we have to work diligently to make sure that the abundance of opportunities that are available through the [City of Chicago] reaches them.  We don’t want any of our veterans to miss out on any of the opportunities that can be provided to them,” said Taliaferro.

Addressing Violence

Unfortunately, honoring veterans wasn’t the only reason Williams and Sanders requested an audience with the alderman.

Williams said gun violence surrounding the MCC has discouraged staff from escorting residents on nature walks throughout the community. She said she hoped by meeting with the Taliaferro that inroads to address the community’s gun violence would be made. Following the veterans’ ceremony, Williams, Sanders and another member of MCC’s staff held a private meeting with the alderman.

Williams suggested too that MCC wants to take a larger role within the community as both a partner and stakeholder.

Taliaferro explained it’s important that all community leaders and stakeholders do their best to address violence. He suggested the creation of strong, interactive block clubs that partner with the Chicago Police Department and neighborhood residents as an option.

“I think that we just have to work harder, better, and smarter in reducing gun violence in the city,” said Taliaferro.

He said he wants to continue to support the efforts being made by the Chicago Police Department.

“I think we need to do more,” said Taliaferro. “I’ve always been one to say we cannot back down from a challenge. The challenge to the police department is to develop better initiatives that will help address the violence.”

Recently, the number of crime related incidents surrounding MCC is among the lowest on Chicago’s West Side.

According to the Chicago Police Department’s ClearMap crime summary, in the last 90 days the 15th district, where MCC is located, ranks in the bottom third of recorded criminal incidents. Furthermore, MCC is located on the border of the 1512 and 1513 CPD beats in the 15th district which both have witnessed significantly  fewer reports of crime than their neighboring beats to the east. Combined, the 1512 and 1513 beats have witnessed 132 reported acts of crime compared to the 1522 and 1523 beats located east of Central Ave. with 201 reported acts of crime.

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