Quinn asks Illinoisans to support veteran programs

December 20, 2010 4:36:03 AM PST
Gov. Pat Quinn spoke out Sunday regarding the coming end of the military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy while he urged Illinois residents to donate their frequent flyer miles to servicemembers.

Quinn said during a press conference Sunday afternoon that he thought the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' would make the country stronger and the military better.

The governor said he thinks the majority of Americans also wanted an end to the military policy that banned openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

"It's a volunteer military, and if someone has the patriotism to volunteer, we need them in a variety of capacities in our military, all the branches of service. And I don't think their sexual orientation should be an impediment to their service," Quinn said.

Quinn also pushed the Operation Hero Miles program, which he said lets military families visit wounded service members recovering in hospitals around the world. The governor says the program is "especially important" during the holidays.

The program also provides airplane tickets to service members so they can travel home on medical leave. The governor's office says the program has provided more than 20,000 donated tickets worth $27 million.

Also Sunday, Quinn highlighted a scratch-off lottery ticket called Veterans Cash and the Illinois Military Family Relief fund.

Online: http://www.operationhomefront.org

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)