CHICAGO—Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn commemorated the week of November 17, 2003 as National Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve Week in Illinois and presented Illinois’ Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve.
Quinn was joined by Pat Rea, Chairman, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve of Illinois; John Scully, Vice-Chair, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve of Illinois; Dr. Mike Ayers, vice president, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce; Brigadier General Steven Best, Commander, 85th Division Army Reserves; and Brigadier General Charles Fleming, Commanding General, Army National Guard.
"Today, Illinois joins with President Bush and the governors of the 50 States in supporting our service men and women who receive assistance from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Every business in Illinois needs to welcome back returning service members into the job they left," said Scully.
“With Veterans Day this week, we need to remember the 4,072 Illinoisans who are currently on active duty and the 43,000 Americans being called up next week to join the fight against terrorism,” said Quinn. “It is essential for all of us to honor these brave citizen soldiers who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom.”
Quinn also received an award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for his leadership for the Reserve Forces, including Quinn’s successful effort to create the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund. This fund, which Quinn promotes through what he calls “Operation Home Front”, helps the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists on active duty pay for items like rent, utility bills or day care.
“Families see as much as a 70 percent drop in household income when the husband or wife is away on active duty,” said Quinn. “I encourage the employers of our reservists and guard members to help our military families in every way possible.”
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is an agency within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. The organization, which has a network of more than 4,500 volunteers, promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers, and assists in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.
Recently, Quinn urged the General Assembly to approve legislation to enable military personnel on active duty to vote by fax, stating that “this legislation lets our citizen soldiers know they won’t have to worry about forfeiting their right to vote when they’re on patrol in Iraq or Afghanistan. They are already making enough sacrifices.”
For more information about fax voting, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, and other rights of military personnel, see Quinn’s website: www.OperationHomeFront.org or call toll-free at 1-866-417-8889. Donations may be sent to the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund”, P.O. Box 8889, Springfield, IL 62791.