Sunday, December 7, 2003, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn spoke to more than 450 reservists and their families who are preparing for imminent active duty overseas about the new “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” to help the families of soldiers who are activated in the fight against terrorism. Quinn will speak at the Annual Holiday Training and Celebration hosted by the 85th Division Family Readiness Group at Fort Sheridan.
“The citizen soldiers of the Illinois National Guard and reserves need to know that the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund exists,” said Quinn. “ Donations made to this fund would provide financial grants to the families of those called to active duty and ease the minds of reservists who are leaving their families behind to protect our country.”
“To the people of Illinois, let us support our citizen soldiers such as these brave reservists at Fort Sheridan and do something specific by donating money to the Military Family Relief Fund,” said Quinn. “All donations are tax deductible and every penny goes to the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists who have been called to active duty.”
Joining Quinn was Pat Rea, Chairman of the Employee Support Guard and Reserve; General Steve Best, 85th Division Commander; and Frank Amaro, 85th Division Family Readiness Group leader.
Since September 11, 2001, more than 9,000 Illinois National Guard members and reservists have been called to active duty for service in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Quinn has led the successful drive to set up the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” to assist the families of Illinois National Guard member and reservists who face economic hardship when the breadwinner is on active duty.
The fund establishes a check-off box on the 2003 Illinois income tax returns to enable taxpayers to voluntarily donate to a special trust fund. Families of Illinois National Guard members or reservists called to active duty would be eligible for financial assistance for items like rent, utility bills or day care.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund has already helped more than 1,400 Illinois military families and has raised more than $75,000 by inspiring grassroots fundraisers throughout the state such as the bake sale fundraiser at Gurrie Middle School in LaGrange and the Lexington Vacation Bible Students who raised money for the fund by collecting student offerings.
“We appeal to all Illinois businesses, community groups, residents and students to follow their lead and lend a hand to the families of Illinois’ citizen-soldiers,” said Quinn.
General Best presented Quinn with a Unit Coin in appreciation for his assistance with Military Families.
Quinn has established a website and toll-free hotline to directly assist the families of National Guard members and reservists, and to inform the public of ways to help in what he calls “Operation Home Front”. Call
toll-free at 1-866-417-8889 or visit www.OperationHomeFront.org. Donations may be sent to the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund”, P.O. Box 8889, Springfield, IL 62791.