New Illinois Military Family
Relief Fund ready and waiting to help families of Illinois National Guard
members and reservists
horrific events of September 11 marked the beginning of the largest call-up
since the Korean War of Illinois National Guard members and Reservists. Since
September 11, more than 8,824 Illinois National Guard members and reservists
have been called to active duty for service in Operations Enduring Freedom
and Iraqi Freedom.
day, more of our colleagues, family members, and friends are called-up to
serve our country in the fight against terrorism. Illinois is home to the
ninth largest state National Guard in the nation. Our duty on the homefront
is to support the families of our citizen-soldiers as they are called to
defend our freedoms.
research shows that 40 percent of National Guard and Reservist families
endure a serious decline in purchasing power because the military pay of the
breadwinner is substantially less than their regular salary in civilian life.
Private companies often do not make up the difference, so families see as
much as a 70 percent drop in household income when the husband or wife is
away on active duty.
this reason, I led the successful drive to set up the Illinois Military
Family Relief Fund to assist the families of Illinois National Guard members
and reservists who face economic hardship when the breadwinner is on active
Rod Blagojevich-who signed the Fund into law this year-appropriated $5
million to the Military Family Relief Fund and asked that a one-time $500
grant be issued upon request to every reservist and National Guard member
called to active duty.
The law establishes a check-off box on the 2003 Illinois income tax returns
to enable taxpayers to voluntarily donate to a special trust fund.
Administered by the Illinois Department of Military Affairs, the Military
Family Relief Fund will be used to provide financial grants to families of
those called to active duty who request assistance for items such as utility
bills, long-distance phone bills, rent, groceries or day care.
Military Family Relief Fund gives the Illinois Adjutant General-the
highest-ranking military officer in our state-the ability to provide
emergency financial grants to cash-strapped families who request assistance.
and corporations may also contribute money directly to the Military Family
Relief Fund. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in the coming year.
am continually impressed by everyday citizens who come up with creative ways
to express their appreciation to our frontline troops such as the Gurrie
Middle School students in LaGrange who raised $1,600 at a bake sale for the
Military Family Relief Fund and the Lexington Vacation Bible Students who
raised $250 for the Fund by collecting student offerings.
in times of unbearable suffering, Illinoisans have heeded the call for help
and contributed to the Fund. A special contribution was recently made by Jim
Frazier, father of 24-year-old Illinois Air National Guard member, Staff Sgt.
Jacob Frazier who was killed in action on March 29, 2003 while serving in
Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Frazier family donated
$1,500 to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund raised at a reception in
honor of Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, which I attended.
unselfish effort reminded everyone present of the ultimate sacrifice made by
Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier and all Illinois soldiers who have answered the call
to duty and given their lives for freedom and democracy.
Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, proclaimed, "From these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the
last full measure of devotion." In Illinois, we can take up the cause of
our fallen soldiers by supporting the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund
for the families of Illinois National Guard and reservists who are on active
duty and heroically carrying on the fight against terrorism.
salute these patriots who have already organized successful fundraisers to
benefit the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund and appeal to all Illinois
businesses, community groups, residents and students to follow their lead,
and lend a hand to the families of Illinois' citizen-soldiers. Already, the
donations of committed Illinoisans have helped more than 1,044 families.
the families of our citizen-soldiers, I have established a website
www.OperationHomeFront.org and toll-free hotline 1-866- 417-8889 to directly
assist the families of National Guard members and reservists, and to inform
the public of ways to help. Already, more than 1,579,688 people have visited
do something specific and concrete to support our troops, please consider
sending a donation to the 'Illinois Military Family Relief Fund', P.O. Box
8889, Springfield, IL 62791. All donations are tax deductible and every penny
goes to the families of Illinois National Guard members and reservists who
have been called to active duty.