"We're doing fine here," said Harper, who spent his career in military security. "It's a good place to live."
Harper chose O'Fallon because its school system could provide for the needs of his daughter Jennifer, 21, who has Down syndrome, and because of the community support.
"There are a lot of volunteer activities and things," said Harper on Friday, when he was photographed with his daughter during a fundraising event at the Dunkin Donuts at 6008 N. Illinois St.
But Harper acknowledged that things could be better, including Illinois' high sales taxes and challenges with job-hunting.
"You just got to find a job," said Harper, who was laid off from a consulting job in 2012. "There are some jobs around. It depends on what you're looking for."
High sales taxes, poor job creation -- in addition to difficulty accessing VA medical facilities and extreme ranges in weather -- have landed Illinois near the bottom of a list of the best states for military retirees.