SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod Blagojevich today lit the first annual holiday tree at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, the Governor and First Lady Patti Blagojevich also encouraged participation in this winter’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign, an effort to collect winter clothing and car seats for children who need them the most.
“The holidays are all about family, and spending time with the people you love,” said Gov. Blagojevich, who was joined by his wife Patti and daughters Amy and Annie. “This is a time for family, and a time to be thankful for what you have, but it's also a time to help those in need. That’s why we created the Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign.”
The Governor’s Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign is a statewide clothing and car seat drive. Citizens, businesses, and state employees are encouraged to donate new or gently used gloves, mittens, hats, scarves and new car seats. As they come in, donations will be taken to charities in communities around the state. These charities will then distribute the donations to needy families in their area. Citizens can donate clothing at the Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Employment Security offices as well as all 113 branches of US Banks in Illinois.
The 20-foot tall tree on display at the Presidential Library is adorned with log cabin and Abraham Lincoln ornaments made by Kindergarten through 6th grade students from St. Joseph School, Blessed Sacrament, and Christ the King. The top of the tree is crowned with an Abraham Lincoln style top hat.
The tree was purchased by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and will be used by the Library for future holiday observances. During the tree lighting ceremony, the crowd enjoyed holiday music selections from the choir of Springfield’s Love Deliverance Temple, C.C. Doss, Pastor.
After lighting the tree, the Governor presented Brenda Tucker, a Springfield mother of four with a brand new safety seat donated by 21st Century Insurance. 21st Century has donated 500 new safety seats for the Keep Our Kids Warm and Safe campaign.
“I am very proud that my family and I are part of the first ever holiday tree lighting at the new library of Illinois’ most celebrated son,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Today marks a very special day in the history of rich traditions that I am sure will become apart of the legacy of the library.”
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, home to the state’s 47,000-item Abraham Lincoln collection as well as 12 million other items pertaining to Illinois’ history, was opened to the public on October 14, 2004. The adjacent museum, which will showcase material from the Library’s collections and educate visitors with its exhibits and audiovisual programs, will open April 19, 2005.