SPRINGFIELD – February 3, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that more than 500 troops from the Illinois National Guard have completed their three-day mission with the Illinois State Police (ISP) to assist stranded motorists during this week’s historic winter storm.
“I called upon the Illinois National Guard to ensure the safety of the people of Illinois during a massive winter storm and that is exactly what they did,” said Governor Quinn. “The troops were out there in the snow and ice making sure every traveler was safe and got the assistance they needed.”
Governor Quinn activated the National Guard on Tuesday. The troops initially operated out of more than 20 rest areas on interstates from I-70 north to the Chicago area. The troops were supplied with water, snack bars and road safety tips to provide to stranded motorists. The Guardsmen also relayed information regarding road conditions, vehicle accidents and stranded motorists to ISP officers working in the area.
On Wednesday, the National Guard mission was revised to provide more direct support to the Illinois State Police. They operated out of ISP district stations and other rendezvous points.
“The Illinois National Guard answered the call when their communities were in need and assisted more than 200 stranded motorists,” said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “The Illinois National Guard continues to demonstrate they are ‘Always Ready, Always There’ and will keep protecting the citizens of Illinois any way it can.”
On Monday, Governor Quinn activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Springfield to coordinate the state’s response to the storm. The SEOC has operated 24 hours a day since that time. Governor Quinn also issued a disaster declaration for the entire state in advance of the heavy snow, ice and blizzard conditions.
Information about the state’s response to the winter storm, shelter locations and winter safety tips are available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illnois.gov. Information about state road conditions can be found at www.gettingaroundillinois.com or at www.travelmidwest.com.