Study: 71 percent of Illinoisans at prime military recruitment age not eligible to enlist

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - First Lady Diana Rauner is launching the 2018 Holiday Hero Drive to encourage people to remember service members this holiday season.

The drive sends cards and socks to Illinois service members.


The drive is done in partnership with the United Service Organizations of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, and the Illinois Governor's Mansion Association.


"Our active duty military and veterans have made countless sacrifices to preserve our way of life, and it is vital that we always remember and support our Illinois heroes," Mrs. Rauner said. "Holiday cards and socks are simple gifts that can lift their spirits and show our men and women in uniform that we appreciate their service."


"Gov. Rauner and I encourage all Illinoisans to participate in the Holiday Hero Drive by sending cards or socks to the USO or a local veterans services office," she continued. "We are proud to work with these partners to express our gratitude to the military and veteran communities this holiday season."


You can send in new tan or black boot socks to USO of Illinois officials, who will distribute the collected socks to deployed troops and veterans in Illinois Veterans' Homes.


"Deployed service members are on their feet a lot, and tan or black boot socks — which can be worn with any uniform — are one of the most requested items, to keep their feet dry, clean and comfortable," said David Darroch, USO program director.


"This great program will show every service member — soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guard member — that we truly appreciate their sacrifice and service and that they are not forgotten as they continue to serve wherever they are assigned to complete their duty," IDVA Director Stephen Curda said.


Cards and socks should be mailed now through Nov. 20 to the following address:


USO of Illinois – Holiday Hero Drive

333 N. Michigan Ave.

Suite 2226

Chicago, IL 60601


Cards and socks also can be dropped off at the Governor's Mansion, 410 E. Jackson St., Springfield, or with a local Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs veteran service officer.