Chicago senior living community captures photos, stories of military veterans

A Chicago senior living community has commissioned a photographer to capture the images and stories of their resident military veterans.

As Thomas Sanders snaps photos of Army veteran Frank Kik, who is holding a photo of himself that’s more than 70 years old, he instructs him to think about his military experience.

Kik served from 1947 to 1949.

With an experience in topography, Kik worked with the Japanese to create maps of Korea.

Kik, who is in his 90s, remembers his time in the service fondly. He liked the structure and discipline that he says he learned from the Japanese.

Kik is one of seven veterans, residing at Belmont Village Senior Living in Lincoln Park, that Sanders is photographing.

The final images will line a seventh floor hallway, arranged in a gallery for residents and visitors to enjoy.

"As time goes on, these veterans really need to be honored and interviewed to make sure that they’re appreciated," said Sanders.

He began photographing WWII veterans in 2008.


He currently holds the world’s largest collection of American WWII veteran portraits.

Sanders used those photographs and the personal stories that accompany them to publish a book titled "The Last Good War: The Faces and Voices of WWII."

"A lot of times when the veterans see their photographs on the wall here at Belmont Village, they feel appreciated and then they kind of think, ‘Who's that old person on the wall? That doesn't look like me.’ It's even like an 85-year-old still wants to look young which I think is really interesting," Sanders said.