Veteran Recognition: Part One by Mike Dimmick

Family Finds 'Comfort' in Serving

By WEEK Producer

Gallery

3 photos

November 1, 2010 Updated Nov 4, 2010 at 10:10 PM CDT

Next week, the work of those who serve- and those who have served in the military- will be honored with a special night in Peoria.

The co-chairs of The Goodwill Veterans' Recognition Event know firsthand about the sacrifices of a military life.

Jim and Drake Comfort of Peoria are far from the front lines on this day, sitting at a table with their parents.

They admit they seemed destined to work dinner tables.

(Ever dream growing up that the two of you would wind up in this situation?)

"Definitely not. No," said Jim Comfort. "I thought we'd both wind up in the restaurant business."

And why not? JD Comfort owns Jim's Bistro, part of long-time restaurant family.

And now dad to Captain Jim Comfort, an Army Ranger, probably soon headed to Afghanistan for a third time, and Corporal Drake Comfort, Illinois Army National Guard 178th Infantry Battalion.

At one point, they were in Afghanistan at the same time.

At the beginning, mom Julie had a very difficult time with this.

"Julie offered them the restaurant to them when she found out they wanted in the military," said father JD Comfort. "I never thought I'd hear that."

"We had not one, but two infantrymen in Afghanistan, and not in a great part of Afghanistan," said mother Julie Comfort. "They were both sort of on that Pakistani/Afghan border, so it was a very, very difficult period for me.

But her two boys say infantry is a perfect fit for them.

So, Julie And JD now proudly live with the stress and immerse themselves in a new life of supporting military families, along the way righting some old wrongs.

"I spoke with a man one night at the restaurant," said the mother, "And he was asking about the boys. Then he ended up ultimately telling me that he had been a Vietnam veteran and was so glad the boys were getting the support and had the resources when they came home. He said I never had one person acknowledge my service, and I thanked him, and I said 'Well, you know, it's late in coming, but thank you for your service.' And he burst into tears. It was that difficult for him."

You can help the Comforts thank all who have served next Tuesday, November 9, at the Goodwill Veterans Recognition Event at the Peoria Civic Center.

Oliver North will be the featured speaker.

For tickets call 682-1113 or check out www.goodwillpeo.org.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.