CHICAGO—Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn kicked off National Hospitalized Veterans Week to urge citizens to send Valentine’s Day cards to their local veterans hospital to pay tribute and express appreciation to our nation’s veterans.
“Hospitalized veterans wear a badge of honor for their service and their courage in defending our nation,” said Quinn. “Let’s show our appreciation by sending hospitalized veterans a card or a letter letting them know they are in our thoughts this Valentine’s Day.”
A representative from U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s office joined Quinn at the special cake cutting ceremony. As guest of honor, Quinn cut a piece of special cake and serve it to veterans at the hospital to show appreciation for their service.
Hospitalized Veterans Week was established in March, 1978 to pay tribute and express appreciation to the nation’s 3.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed services currently in medical centers, clinics and nursing homes. It was also established to increase community awareness of the role of veterans hospitals, encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
Illinois is home to 36 veteran hospitals, including seven hospitals located in Chicago. Quinn’s website, www.operationhomefront.org
, has a detailed list of all the veteran hospitals in Illinois.
In May, Quinn participated in the rally to support the 765 ailing and aging veterans on long waiting lists to get into one of the Illinois’ four veterans’ homes. He also lent support to a petition drive, which garnered more than 6,000 signatures and expanded the veterans’ home in Manteno by 38 beds.
Quinn spearheaded the drive to create the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund to help the families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty and set up a website, www.operationhomefront.org
, which gives information on how to help soldiers and military families. The website has already received more than 4 million
hits since it began last April.
The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund – unanimously passed by the General Assembly - was signed into law in February, 2003, by Governor Rod Blagojevich. It enables Illinois taxpayers to voluntarily donate to the Fund on their state income tax forms through a special check-off box. The Fund assists the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists called to active duty with financial assistance for family needs. So far, more than $823,000 has been distributed from the Fund to 1801 of Illinois military families.
“President Abraham Lincoln reminded us of our duty to ‘…care for them who have borne the battle.’ The people of Illinois want to help our soldiers and the Military Family Relief Fund is an excellent way for them to do so,” Quinn said.