Loved ones remember Rockford veterans advocate for her dedication

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Family and friends gather to honor the life of a forest city native who gave so much to veterans in our community. We were at Saturday’s memorial where loved ones say Pat Ambrose was an inspiration to others around her.

Her commitment resulted in a new place for local vets to call home.

“See all the people that are here today to celebrate Pat, and it’s clear how much of an impact she made on the community, and especially on our vets,” said Veteran’s Drop-in Center board member Jim DiVerde.

Friends and family came together at Veteran’s Memorial Hall in downtown Rockford to remember Pat Ambrose who died earlier this month. The Forest City native helped found the non-profit Veteran’s Drop-in Center and served as its executive director until her passing.

“It’s open five days a week, where any veteran can show up, regardless of discharge status, and have access to all the services the drop-in center provides, free lunch and dinner, and a place to socialize and get together with other vets,” said DiVerde.

DiVerde is a Marine Corp veteran. He tells us that Ambrose made it her mission to help local veterans get the support they need. He believes the center, now located on the corner of 4th Street and 15th Avenue, has been a safe haven for those who served since it opened more than a decade ago.

“Being a vet, it’s nice to have a place for other veterans to socialize and get together because they often can commiserate and have things in common that they may not have with other civilians,” he added.

The center plans to stay open moving forward. DiVerde says it is just part of the legacy Ambrose leaves behind.

“We’ve found somebody to take over the role of executive director, which is the role that Pat occupied. Nobody can replace Pat of course, but she would’ve wanted us to carry on the mission and support our troops, our vets, and make sure they’re taken care of,” DiVerde explained.

DiVerde says Eric Willard will take over as executive director of the drop-in center.

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