VFW post to continue slain leader's work

November 23, 2009 (MIDLOTHIAN, Ill.) Bill Burtner was attacked while going to around $2,000 deposit money he raised to help World War II vets get to Washington, D.C. last Monday. He died several days later from those injuries.

He was honored by his family- his wife, Mary, whom he had married late in life; his children; grandchildren and great grandchildren- and his many friends, including veterans who brought their families to pay tribute to a man who spent so much of his time helping others.

" He was a quiet man. He wasn't a man of many words, but he was a man of action. When Bill put his mind to something, he did it, and I hope I can be half the commander that he was," said Paul Klimczak, Patriot Guard.

Burtner visited several veterans daily and sent care packages to soldiers serving overseas.

" There's a hole in everybody's heart right now. There's an empty void that they don't know how they're going to fill, because he was a part of everything," said Kelly Jaworski, friend.

" He was always there for the veterans. He was always helping the veterans, no matter what. Any veteran says I need help, he's there. He's going to be missed a lot," said Ray Preston, VFW Post 2580.

Burtner also served on a veterans committee for the village of Midlothian. His friends say work will continue to help veterans as he would have wanted.

" What this committee wanted to do is send our World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. So this is going to be the Bill Burtner honor flight. We've got to get the money raised. We cannot forget the vets. We can't forget the families. We can't forget what they're doing for us, and every day -- I mean, we're here free because of these veterans, people like Bill and all of them. None of them should," said Karen Kreis, Midlothian Village trustee. "

Contributions to that fund could be sent to: Bill Burtner Programs, VFW Post 2580, 14817 Crawford Ave., Midlothian, IL 60445.

One man has been charged in the case. Jerry Brown, 27, is charged with robbery, but more charges could be filed.

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