Jeff Ake

Jeff Ake is a former Downers Grove resident, a graduate of Downers North and the University of Illinois. He is also a husband to Lilly and the father of four children who miss him terribly. He traveled to Iraq to assist in the reconstruction effort as a private citizen. One morning, the telephone rang at the Ake home in LaPorte Indiana and an Iraqi man told Lilly, "We have your husband." Now, 11 years, 4 months later, nothing is known about his whereabouts, while his family and friends wait and wonder what to expect after so much silence. No American has been held captive longer in Iraq and come out alive.

Jeff and Lilly were building a little piece of the American dream in LaPorte, Indiana, as their packaging equipment company, Equipment Express began to grow. Jeff was installing his company’s equipment in an Iraqi water bottling plant when armed gunmen came in and kidnapped him. A day later a video was shown of Jeff being held by hooded and heavily armed captors. In spite of much hard work by the FBI, military intelligence and other groups, there is no information about Jeff’s current status.

Imagine losing your spouse, your company, your job, your house and most of your assets. Unfortunately this is the situation that Lilly finds herself in today. The business was not able to be sustained without Jeff’s driving force, and the company was sold at a distressed price that did not provide any assets to Lilly. The company had provided incomes and benefits for Lilly and Jeff, but now those are gone. Lilly was forced to sell their house and move into a house that relatives have provided for her. Unfortunately, since Jeff is a missing person, financial safety nets such as life insurance are not yet available to Lilly and the children. In addition to their four children, aged 27, 21, 17, and 14. Lilly also supports her elderly mother who is in poor health and who recently immigrated here from Russia. Like many of us, Lilly doesn’t like to ask for help, but a number of Jeff’s friends have gotten together to establish The Jeff Ake Family Trust to provide financial support to Lilly and her family as she works to rebuild her life. If you would like to help Jeff’s family through this difficult time, please consider donating to the The Jeff Ake Family Trust.