NORTH RIVERSIDE, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn saluted several citizens who raised money for the “Illinois Military Family Relief Fund” to help the families of soldiers activated in the fight against terrorism. Quinn also spoke to the Illinois National Guard 3625th Maintenance Company and their families on the benefits of the fund before the unit ships out for Southwest Asia early next month.
“The donations made by these homefront heroes will provide financial grants to the families of those called to active duty and ease the minds of citizen soldiers who are leaving their families behind to protect our country,” said Quinn. “In the spirit of the holidays, we appeal to all Illinois businesses, community groups, residents and students to follow their lead and lend a hand to the families of Illinois’ National Guard members and reservists.”
Quinn also encouraged civic organizations to embrace the holiday spirit by raising donations for the Military Family Relief Fund. “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,” said Quinn.
Quinn issued “Homefront Hero” awards to the Vietnam Veterans of America Illinois Chapter, the Women’s Club of Fairbury, IL, members of “Freedom Run” who organized two fundraisers for Illinois veterans, Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, U.S. Cellular, Nicor Gas and Peoples Energy. were also present.
A special appearance was made by Jim Frazier, father of 24-year-old Illinois Air National Guard member, Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, who was killed in action on March 29, 2003 while serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Frazier family donated $1,500 to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund raised at a reception in honor of Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, which Lt. Gov. Quinn attended.
Since September 11, 2001, more than 9,000 Illinois National Guard members and reservists have been called to active duty. Many families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists endure a serious decline in purchasing power because the military pay of the breadwinner is usually much less than their regular salary in civilian life.
The Military Family Relief Fund has already helped more than 1,500 Illinois military families and has raised thousands of dollars by inspiring grassroots fundraisers throughout the state. The fund has dispersed $624,500, which includes $500 disbursement to every Illinois National Guard Member and reservist for their service, $2,000 need-based grant disbursements and $1,000 casualty-based grant disbursements.
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.