Springfield -- The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA), in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois State Fair, hosted veterans and their family members to a great day at the State Fair – admission free – on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, with a surprise visit by Governor Pat Quinn, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and other elected and appointed officials to veteran-centric events.
“We are very grateful to Gov. Pat Quinn for spending the better part of the day meeting with and engaging with so many veterans and their families,” said IDVA Acting Director Rodrigo Garcia. “His leadership – and the outstanding support of the other elected and appointed officials – helps our Illinois veterans know how important they are to our great state. I am proud of the hard work by the IDVA team in preparing a great series of events and the State Fair for a great fair this year.
In addition to all the activities, entertainment and food the State Fair had to offer, the veterans could partake a wide range of events specifically offered for their enjoyment. The events on the Director’s Lawn included a moving Memorial Service; an Official Program, with special honors for Vietnam Veterans; a Veterans’ Luncheon, and a day-long Helping Our Hometown Heroes Benefits Fair, capped with the Veterans Day Parade at the Fair.
Over 80 Gold Star Family members and hundreds of others attended the Memorial Service, with remarks offered by Maj. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, the Illinois Adjutant General, on the Director’s Lawn. The names of the fallen from Illinois represented by families in attendance were read, and cadets from the Civil Air Patrol placed a red rose at the base of the memorial in honor of each in turn. The St. Andrew’s Pipes & Drums assisted the service with a rendition of “Amazing Grace”, and after the service, along with their dancers, provided a crowd-pleasing performance leading up to the Official program.
The Official Program began at noon, with IDVA Acting Director Rodrigo Garcia and keynote speaker John W. Stroud, Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars, honoring all veterans. A special proclamation was read, honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, with pins for Vietnam veterans in attendance. Gov. Quinn assisted in the presentation of the proclamation and met with the veterans and family members afterwards. State commanders from 8 veteran service organizations were in attendance and recognized.
The Veterans Luncheon, this year sponsored by USAA, provided a complimentary meal to the veterans and family members, while the Patt Holt Singers of St. Louis, MO provided entertainment reminiscent of a USO show.
The IDVA State Fair Committee included Mark Patterson, Lisa Tisdale, Gwen Diehl and Harry Sawyer. Sawyer served as master of ceremonies for both the Memorial and the Official program.
For additional information, please contact Ryan Yantis, IDVA communication manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-520-6958.