Governor Bruce Rauner has activated the Illinois National Guard to assist in local efforts to save lives and keep damage to a minimum in Southern Illinois. About 20 infantry soldiers were ordered to report to the Illinois Army National Guard's Marion Readiness Center on New Year's Day. An Illinois Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with hoist capability has also been placed on standby.

The helicopter and crew are part of an Aviation Battalion based an a National Guard flight facility at Midway Airport in Chicago. Rauner says he believes the activation necessary to communities who continue to battle rising flood waters that are expected to continue to rise in some areas through the weekend. The infantry soldiers will assist local authorities in securing flooding areas and maintaining the health and welfare of the local public. The helicopter and its four-soldier will help with evacuation efforts, if necessary.

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