Chicago Department of Aviation and Belmont Village Senior Living Honor U.S. Veterans with New Exhibit at O’Hare International Airport

‘American Heroes: Portraits of Service’ Second Installation Lands at ORD with Ribbon Cutting and Flag-Folding Commemoration Ceremony

CHICAGO--()--The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with Belmont Village Senior Living and co-sponsor Harrison Street, announce the arrival of a new exhibition at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) titled “American Heroes: Portraits of Service” displayed in Terminal 3, Concourse I near gates 20-24. This thoughtfully curated photography exhibit is the second collaboration and showcases portraits of 55 distinguished senior veterans who valiantly served their country during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, captured through the lens of renowned photographer Thomas Sanders. The first installation housed at Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW) was unveiled in November 2022.

A ceremony to introduce the exhibit at ORD, included a flag-folding ceremony led by distinguished veterans featured in the installation, as well as remarks from Chicago Airport Commissioner Jamie Rhee and Belmont Village Senior Living Founder and CEO Patricia Will, who recognized the contributions of veterans who are showcased in the exhibit.

“On behalf of Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago airport community, I am proud to partner with Belmont Village Senior Living ahead of Memorial Day to unveil this exhibit honoring the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country,” CDA Commissioner Jamie Rhee said. “Chicago’s airports are always looking for more ways to highlight the contributions of service members through efforts like these exhibits, regular Honor Flight Chicago trips to visit the national war memorials in Washington, D.C., and increased contracting opportunities for veteran-owned firms alongside other minority- and women-owned businesses.”

The American Heroes: Portraits of Service has been a long-standing photography project at Belmont Village Senior Living to capture the stories and images of veterans in its communities to preserve their history.

Chicago's O'Hare Airport now offers travelers an opportunity to learn about the inspiring stories of distinguished veterans, like Myron Petrakis, a Navy machinist who served on the USS Murrelet during WWII. Petrakis, who was also showcased in the exhibit at MDW, requested that his colleague and friend, Richard Nelson, be featured in the exhibit at ORD. This tribute to the enduring bonds forged during wartime demonstrates the profound impact of service to our country.

“This project is a staple in Belmont Village’s culture, having portraits displayed in permanent galleries in our communities throughout the nation, and we’re proud to continue our efforts to showcase this project at O'Hare International Airport, after successfully exhibiting at Midway last year,” states Will.

Belmont Village Senior Living initiated the American Heroes: Portraits of Services photography project in 2008 with the objective of capturing and conserving the stirring personal accounts of veterans. Sanders has since captured thousands of images of Belmont residents featured in over 30 permanent exhibits in Belmont communities across the country.

The project is sponsored by Harrison Street, which has invested over $13.6 billion in senior living communities across North America, including independent living, assisted living and memory care units that serve more than 60,500 seniors. The firm is committed to supporting veterans and active military and has partnered with the U.S. Government and Department of Defense to provide over 4,000 homes to military families located across six U.S. Air Force bases.

“We are pleased to join our long-standing partner, Belmont Village, and the Chicago Department of Aviation to pay tribute to the selfless service members with this incredible tribute,” said Christopher Merrill, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Harrison Street.

About Belmont Village Senior Living

Founded in Houston in 1997, Belmont Village is an integrated developer, owner, and operator of high-quality seniors housing with more than 4,000 employees. Its 33 locations across the country and in Mexico City, provide award-winning assisted living and memory care programs and ongoing collaborations with Baptist Health South Florida, USC, UCLA, and more to continually improve their cognitive health and evidence-based enrichment programs. Renowned for distinctive design, high standards of life and safety, and reputation for leading edge, quality of care, Belmont Village is certified as a Great Place to Work® and has been ranked as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s 50 Best Workplaces for Aging Services since 2018., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA)

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is self-supporting, using no local or state tax dollars for operations or capital improvements at O’Hare and Midway International Airports. Chicago’s airports offer service to over 250 nonstop destinations worldwide, including 47 foreign countries, combined. Together, Chicago’s airports serve more than 105 million passengers each year and generate approximately $70 billion in annual economic activity for the region. Please visit to learn more about the Chicago Department of Aviation.

About Harrison Street

Harrison Street is one of the leading investment management firms exclusively focused on alternative real assets. Since inception in 2005, the firm has created a series of differentiated investment solutions focused on demographic-driven, needs-based assets. The firm has invested across senior housing, student housing, healthcare delivery, life sciences and storage real estate as well as social and utility infrastructure. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in London, Luxembourg, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington DC, the firm has more than 250-employees and approximately $55 billion in assets under management. Clients of the firm include a global institutional investor base domiciled in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Harrison Street has been awarded Best Places to Work by Pensions Investments for eight years (2014-2020, 2022) and has won multiple awards from PERE, including five for the 2022 Awards: Alternatives Investor of the Year - Global, Industry Figure of the Year - Global, Residential Investor of the Year - Global, Data Centers Investor of the Year - Global, and Residential Investor of the Year - North America. For more information, please visit


Dara Shlifka,

Release Summary

Chicago Department of Aviation and Belmont Village Senior Living Honor U.S. Veterans with New Exhibit at O’Hare International Airport


Dara Shlifka,