Chase Wilhelm was born in Montgomery County to a devoted mother and a Vietnam veteran factory worker at Hillsboro Glass. While growing up, Chase learned the true value of commitment to your word and honesty in your actions through sportsmanship and hunting the backwoods and field rows in Montgomery County and neighboring areas. He graduated from Mulberry Grove High School and later attended Saint Louis University where he earned his bachelor’s in political science. Chase supported himself in his later years of high school and throughout college by working union labor jobs within Labor Local 1084 as a journeyman, including time paving roads on Route 16 and working at the CIPS Coffeen Power Station. These opportunities taught Chase the important link between labor and community, and how hard work and honest pay should go hand-in-hand.
Chase joined the U.S. Army in 2006 after completing his undergraduate degree and attended Eden Theological Seminary to become an Army Chaplain, striving to make the largest impact serving his brothers and sisters in arms. While in the Army, Chase earned his master’s in religion and society from Princeton Theological, and a Ph.D. in ethics from Garrett-Evangelical at Northwestern University. During this journey, Chase devoted his time helping countless service members within both the Illinois National Guard and active duty community. He served as the Officer in Charge of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program throughout his Ph.D. studies, working for Illinois veterans and families first. Most recently he served as the Officer in Charge of a program within the Preservation of the Force and Family Directorate at United States Special Operations Command.
Chase has walked alongside service members during their darkest hours at home, abroad, and in Afghanistan, leading groundbreaking program development impacting the entire Special Operations community, while still maintaining close connections with family and friends back home. Always remembering where he came from, it was during his time serving some of our nation's finest service members he heard and answered the call to return to Illinois and the communities he was raised in. Leaving active duty and entering the Army Reserve Element at Special Operations Command, he recognizes the dire need of real leadership here at home. Chase has come home to serve the community, families, farmers, workers, and teachers who reared him and gave him a foundation of integrity first and service before self long before he chose to serve our nation.
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