Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Donates

$50,000 to Important Fund as Veterans Day Nears

CHICAGO - November 8, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today joined with representatives from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to accept a $50,000 donation to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.

"I salute the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association for supporting this important cause for more than three years," said Governor Quinn. "When our brave men and women answer the call to duty, they should not have to worry that their families are suffering financially at home. All of us in Illinois can help our military families by donating to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund this Veterans Day."

Thanks to many generous donations by Illinois residents, the fund has distributed more than $10.4 million for more than 19,000 applications from Illinois military families to date. Donations to the fund can be made by visiting Checks can be made payable to the Illinois Military Family Relief and mailed to: The Illinois Department of Military Affairs, ATTN: IMFRF, 1301 N. MacArthur Boulevard, Springfield, Illinois 62702-2399

The Illinois Military Family Relief Fund legislation was drafted by then-Lt. Governor Quinn, passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2003. It established a check-off box on the Illinois income tax return that allowed residents to make tax-deductible donations directly to the fund. More than 35 states have passed legislation modeled after the Illinois fund.

On Wednesday, Governor Quinn spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D. C. to advocate for the passage of a National Military Family Relief Fund. The legislation, House Resolution 1175, was announced by Governor Quinn and Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) in April and is based on the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund. It would allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to the fund by filling in an amount on their federal income tax forms. Active-duty servicemen and servicewomen fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and veterans and their families would be eligible for grants.

Governor Quinn was joined by Director Dan Grant, Director, Department of Veterans Affairs; Frank J. Kirby, President, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association; Gregory S. Szymski, Executive Director, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and an Army Bronze Star Vietnam Veteran; and SGT Michael Devlin, a beneficiary the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.


Bill provides more campus resources for student veterans

CHICAGO - August 7, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law a bill that provides greater educational and informational resources for veterans attending Illinois public colleges and universities.

"This legislation provides our student veterans with the needed information, assistance and guidance they deserve," said Governor Quinn. "It is necessary that we take care of these fine men and women who have served our country proudly and ensure they are aware of the resources and benefits that are available to them to further their education."

The Higher Education Veterans Service Act will require schools to create, publish and distribute a comprehensive guide of services available specifically to veterans at their institutions. The bill also requires schools with 1,000 or more full-time students to appoint a coordinator to act as a liaison between administrators and student veterans.

Senate Bill 1624 was sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights).

Within 60 days, schools must produce a comprehensive guide to services and post the information online. The measure is effective immediately.

Within six months, schools with 1,000 or more full-time students must appoint a Coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services. The Coordinator will serve as an ombudsman to assist student veterans, military personnel and their families, and also act as a liaison and advocate with the college or university for the needs of student veterans.

"Many public and private universities have already gone above and beyond to serve veteran populations, and we hope this will further encourage best practices for student veterans throughout our state," said Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Dan Grant.

Governor Quinn was joined at the bill signing ceremony held at the University of Illinois at Chicago by UIC Dean of Students Linda Deanna; Dr. Randy Plunkett, National Director of Military Affairs for DeVry University; and Robert Malnik, Illinois State Director for Student Veterans of America.