SPRINGFIELD- This week, residents paused to recognize the inaugural Gold Star Family Day in Illinois; the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) encouraged schools to support “Walk to School Day;” a new program was announced that asks Illinois residents to serve those who served in the military; and the newest member of the Illinois Senate was sworn into office.
Gold Star Family Day Recognized in Illinois
On Sept. 26, Illinois honored those families who have lost a loved one while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Gold Star Family Day, which will now be celebrated the last Monday of each September, was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in July. This new day of recognition comes the day after Gold Star Mother’s Day, which is currently observed the last Sunday of every September.
Sponsored by State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), Gold Star Family day is a time for those surviving relatives of deceased military personnel to be recognized for their sacrifice and loss. This day of recognition also provides Illinois residents with an opportunity to pause and reflect on the freedom and safety they enjoy, while at the same time honoring the sacrifice those men and women made to ensure America’s safety endures.
Schools Encouraged to Participate in International Walk to School Day on Oct. 5
IDOT is encouraging schools throughout the state to participate in the 20th Annual International Walk to School Day on Oct. 5. Launched in 2000, International Walk to School Day is an opportunity for schools to promote walking to and from school, while also encouraging children to improve their own health in ways that benefit the environment.
Last year, 129 schools in Illinois hosted events. Schools planning to participate in the event are urged to spend time instructing students on pedestrian safety.
Throughout the year, IDOT promotes walking and biking to school through the Safe Routes to School program. The department supports the program through initiatives such as new sidewalk construction, speed monitoring systems, public education and outreach programs.
Serving Those Who Served
A new statewide program, called Serving Those Who Served, asks Illinoisans to participate in volunteer service projects focused on benefiting Illinois veterans. This is the first year for this program, which will run through the month of November, and is planned to become an annual event.
“The Serving Those Who Served program is a call to action,” said Gov. Rauner. “We’re asking for residents from across the state to come together and volunteer their time and energy on service projects to thank veterans and their families for their willingness to defend us. This is an opportunity to not only honor these men and women, but also give back to those who have given so much.
Veteran organizations can register a project for volunteers to assist with throughout November. Illinoisans can look for a project in their area and sign up to volunteer for that project. To register a project or to volunteer for a veteran project, go to www.illinois.gov/veterans and click on “Serving Those Who Served.” Follow the prompts on the page and you will be registered either with a project for your veterans’ organization, or to volunteer and help with that project.