PERU—Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn joined with Peru native Marilyn Miedzianski – mother of Command Sergeant Major Brian Carlson whom Quinn met on his recent trip to Iraq – to promote the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund to help families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty.
“It was an honor to meet Command Sergeant Major Brian Carlson at Forward Operation Base Chosin in Iraq,” said Quinn. “As an American hero in the fight against terrorism, Command Sergeant Major Carlson has reinforced my commitment to making sure that all our Illinois soldiers and military families know about their legal and financial rights.”
Quinn encouraged soldiers, military families, employers and everyday citizens to log on to www.OperationHomefront.org - a site that has already garnered nearly four million hits - to learn how to support our American soldiers. Quinn also urged public support for the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
“To the people of Illinois, let us support our citizen soldiers and ease their minds as they leave their families
behind to protect our country,” said Quinn. “Let’s do something specific by donating money to 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.”
The first state elected official in the United States to visit Iraq, Quinn joined NASCAR racing stars and employers of National Guard members for the five-day, 15,500-mile trip as part of the “Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Civic Leader Tour” early in January.
Quinn - who slept in a military tent in Baghdad - traveled in a military convoy and flew aboard a Black Hawk helicopter to visit two forward operating bases in Iraq. He delivered Illinois state flags to be flown over five bases where Illinois troops are stationed and served as an honor guard escort for two soldiers killed in action.
Quinn greeted National Guard, reservist and regular troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar and assured them they have not been forgotten on the homefront, telling them in person about the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund and the www.OperationHomeFront.org website.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund is a model program that enables Illinois taxpayers to voluntarily donate to the Fund on their state income tax forms through a check-off box. The Fund assists the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists who experience a financial hardship when the breadwinner is called to active duty. So far more than $785,000 has been distributed from the Fund to hundreds of Illinois military families.
Last Monday, Quinn joined California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to launch a drive to create a California Military Family Relief Fund modeled on Illinois’ successful program. Also, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina is pushing for legislation to create a South Carolina Military Family Relief Fund.