WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) introduced the Hero Street USA Commemorative Coin Act, legislation that would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to issue commemorative coins to honor the sacrifice and service of the Hero Street community in Silvis, Illinois. To be minted in 2018, on the 50 year anniversary of its naming, the Hero Street USA Commemorative Coin would celebrate our region’s rich military history as well as benefit the veterans of today, as funds from the sale of each coin would support the Wounded Warrior Project. There is no cost to taxpayers associated with the bill, as a portion of the proceeds will cover the cost of producing the coins.
Only a block and a half long, Second Street in Silvis lost six young men in World War II and two in the Korean War, more than any other street of comparable length in America. Hero Street, as it has been known since 1968, has been the home of over 100 service members since Mexican-American immigrants settled there in 1929.
“As the granddaughter of a World War I veteran and as someone who comes from a family of those who have served in wartime and peacetime, I will never lose sight of the importance of honoring those who have worn our nation’s uniform,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “That’s why I am so proud to lead this bipartisan effort today to honor the legacy of Hero Street in Silvis, Illinois. It is truly because of the sacrifices made by families like those who have called Hero Street home, and the brave young service members from Hero Street who put their lives on the line for us, that the American Dream is still alive today.”
“Less than two blocks in length, Hero Street has been home to over 100 service members since the start of World War II, a concentration higher than any other street of comparable size in the country,” said Tony Soliz, the President of the Hero Street Monument Committee. “I join in thanking Congresswoman Bustos today for her leadership in paying tribute to Hero Street and the brave veterans who served our country. This coin will be a source of pride for our entire community in Silvis and the Quad Cities’ region.”
“The noble contributions of the brave soldiers that have called Hero Street home for the last 70 years have made our community a point of pride, despite the street’s humble beginnings,” said Bob Cervantes of Hero Street Park. “I want to thank Congresswoman Bustos for leading this important effort to pay national tribute to the sacrifice and enduring patriotism of Hero Street and all of men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform.”
A dirt road nestled in a neighborhood of boxcar homes near the Mississippi River, Hero Street was first home to Mexican families that immigrated to the Quad Cities region in the 1920s and 1930s, seeking work with the local railroad line and a better life for themselves and their children. Despite tragedies suffered in war, a strong tradition of military service persisted within this small Mexican-American community as following generations joined the military, leaving a lasting legacy on the City of Silvis and the Armed Forces of the United States.
This bill has been endorsed by the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), including by CHC Chairwoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38).