Dedication, service takes chaplain to noble status

BY CHRIS CLAIR Daily Herald Staff Writer

Robert McKillop will probably always be known as the man who led the charge to bring the Veterans Memorial Band Shell to Lions Park.

But McKillop's service to Mount Prospect and dedication to veterans goes even beyond the popular band shell.

In July, he was presented with the Air Force Chaplain's Cross at a statewide meeting of the American Legion. The award honored McKillop's four years of service as the local chaplain for the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and also for his community service.

McKillop, 67, received the Hometown Award from the village of Mount Prospect earlier this year in large part for his work on the band shell. He said receiving the Chaplain's Cross humbled him.

"It gives me a sense of satisfaction, but it's humbling," McKillop said.

As chaplain, McKillop counsels grieving families, speaks at memorial services, helps pick out caskets and fills out forms.

He started acting as chaplain in 1996 after the previous chaplain died. Four years later, McKillop is still involved.

"I just feel it's an obligation as an American citizen and as one of the veterans that came back in one piece," McKillop said. "It's an unselfish act, and I will continue to do it until someone else comes along and asks to step in." McKillop was the only American Legion chaplain from the Ninth District, First Division to receive the Chaplain's Cross at the state meeting. He was one of only 15 out of more than 100 chaplains and 12,000 or 13,000 American Legion members.

In a letter to the district American Legion commander, Thomas Johnson, commander of the Mount Prospect American Legion Post 525, said McKillop had served the post with dignity and honor.

"Our Post feels very proud and very blessed that we have a Chaplain such as Robert McKillop," Johnson wrote.