Those who served, those who are serving, and those who didn’t come home were the honorees Sunday at the Illinois State Fair. Ceremonies honored the Illinoisans who have fallen during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It took half an hour to read the names.
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Gov. Pat Quinn, long a fan of veterans, used the occasion to sign bills relating to veterans. One would allow honorably discharged veterans with no college education to qualify for hire as a state conservation officer. “The training, the discipline, the ability to work on a team,” said Quinn, “is an outstanding substitute for just going to college. College is important, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of times, our service members have postponed their education to serve our country. And they have these tremendous skills.”
The other new laws: double from two to four the number of days certain state employees can use for military-related hospital visits; help veterans suffering from mental health problems get treatment if they are charged with a crime; and make more relatives of a firefighter or police officer who dies in the line of duty eligible for special license plates.