Will Deliver Holiday Cards to Servicemembers on Monday; Encourages People to Donate Miles and Help Reunite Servicemembers with Families
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–December 22, 2014. Governor Pat Quinn today departed for his annual trip to deliver holiday cards to wounded servicemembers. This year the Governor will visit the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Each year schoolchildren across Illinois demonstrate their overwhelming support for our troops through the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive, which helps ensure a brighter holiday for wounded soldiers.
“We need to take care of those who have borne the battle especially during the holiday season,” Governor Quinn said. “These cards are a small thank you for a big service these women and men do for our country. The holidays are a time to spend with family, and too often our heroes struggle to reconnect with their loved ones who live far away. I encourage everyone to take advantage of our Operation Hero Miles program that helps connect our servicemembers overseas with their families this holiday season.”
This year will mark the 10th time that Governor Quinn has visited Illinois troops and their families for Christmas. For the first eight years, Governor Quinn traveled to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest American hospital outside of the United States. Since many servicemembers have returned home since the drawdown of troops overseas, Governor Quinn will be visiting Walter Reed this year for the second year in a row. During the visit, Governor Quinn will present servicemembers, doctors and staff with holiday cards made by Illinois schoolchildren.
The Governor also encouraged people across Illinois to help injured servicemembers overseas connect with their families this holiday season through Operation Hero Miles. The program uses donated frequent flyer miles to provide free round-trip airline tickets to military families flying to visit a service member receiving medical treatment. It also enables wounded or ill servicemembers with approved leave to fly home at no cost. Supported by nearly every major airline, to date the program has issued more than 40,000 donated tickets, saving servicemembers and their families nearly $63 million. To donate miles, visit FisherHouse.org.
Governor Quinn has made our veterans, servicemembers and their families a top priority. He championed numerous veterans’ causes during his service as Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer. In 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to support Illinois servicemembers seeking homeownership. In 2012, the Governor proposed in his State of the State address and signed into law the Hiring Veterans Tax Credit which provides a significant additional tax credit to businesses who hire unemployed veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, Governor Quinn launched the newest Veterans Cash lottery ticket, a $5 ticket with all proceeds going to benefit Illinois veterans’ organizations. Since the Governor championed and launched the program in 2006, it has awarded more than $11.7 million to more than 240 veterans’ organizations statewide. For more information on initiatives to help our veterans, please visit OperationHomefront.org.