Veterans Conference scheduled for March 27



Jathan Chicoine sitting with his dogFormer Navy Seal Jathan Chicoine is the keynote speaker for this year’s Eastern Iowa/Western Illinois Veterans Conference.

Scheduled for March 27, the conference is moving to a new location, Building #4 at Black Hawk College, 6600 34th Avenue in Moline.

Chicoine became well known in unusual circumstances when his dog, Jack, went missing a little over a year ago. Chicoine rescued Jack in 2009 while in Afghanistan. A Facebook page dedicated to finding Jack has more than 2,000 followers and countless numbers have shared the story.

Chicoine currently works as, and is the first, Veterans Services Coordinator at Iowa State University. As part of broader efforts, he has also served several years as chair to the Iowa Academic Council on Military Education.

He has received recognition for his commitment to Veterans, including being named the 2016 Iowa Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year and receiving the 2016 M.J. Riggs Award for contributions and impact to the Iowa State University Memorial Union.

Chicoine’s life experiences and personal challenges reintegrating into the civilian world following military service have provided him a unique perspective as he serves as a veteran's advocate and continues to work toward creating a better environment for those who have served.

The conference is sponsored by Black Hawk College, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, St. Ambrose University and Western Illinois University/Quad Cities.

It is developed for veterans but family and all others are welcome to attend. The event is free but registration is needed to help organizers make appropriate arrangements for everyone. Information and registration is available online at

Check-in begins at noon with the opening ceremony at 12:30 p.m. The event closes with a Resource Fair beginning at 3:40 p.m.

In addition to Chicoine’s keynote, the afternoon features breakout sessions including:

  • VETS Van Gogh – How art can benefit transitioning combat veterans.
  • Mind, Body, Soul – The connection between mental health and physical well-being.
  • Veterans Career Bootcamp – A short, intensive, session designed to help veterans apply for their next job.

A pre-conference workshop is also scheduled for the morning, prior to the full conference. Beginning at 9 a.m., Military 101 is designed for non-veterans and provides an overview of the branches of the Armed Forces, introduces military terms and rank structure, and provides a foundation to assist in understanding military culture. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

More details about all of the sessions, a map to the conference site, shuttle information and more is all available at