640px Texas Army National Guard Hurricane Harvey ResponseThere has been a great effort around the state to send supplies and support to Texas and victims of Hurricane Harvey. One Springfield native, Brad Milliman, not only took it upon himself to get involved, but included his friends, family, and community. Milliman decided to drive to Texas so he could more directly be a part of the relief effort.

Before leaving, Milliman thought that it would be a more productive trip if he transported as many supplies as he could. His grassroots effort started small, with a couple of text messages to family and friends asking for donations. Before long, he had the support of local schools, businesses and individuals. Milliman delivered the supplies he collected to a staging area in Dallas, Texas.

Other communities around the state are also taking action to help in any way they can.

Chicago State University paired with Houston Texans defensive end, JJ Watt, and his Foundation to provide basic necessities along with coloring books and board games. These enjoyable alternatives can offer a much needed distraction to the realities victims of the hurricane are facing.

Small communities are making an effort as well. There is a semitractor-trailer sitting in front of City Hall in the small town of Carlinville for community members to bring donated supplies. Also, at the Glenwood High School football game versus Rochester High School, community members were encouraged to bring bottled water to help the relief effort. Opportunities like this and others have allowed teachers, students and parents to get involved in the nationwide effort.

The Peoria based 182nd Airlift Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard is also playing a role in the recovery effort. The 182nd has sent one of it's C-130 Hercules aircraft along with a crew to assist with relief efforts.

flag map of IllinoisQuestions

Q1: What Illinois community was the first planned industrial town in the United States?
Q2: Why is O’Hare’s airport code ORD?
Q3: How many square miles are in Illinois?
Q4: Today, it’s East St. Louis, but when it was founded in 1816, what was its name?
Q5: What town marks the geographic center of Illinois?
Q6: How many square miles of water are in Illinois?
Q7: Cairo, Karnak and Thebes make up the area dubbed what?
Q8: At 1,235 feet, what is the highest point in Illinois?
Q9: The sale of liquor was banned in what city from 1853-1971?
Q10: Sandwich, Illinois was named after “Long John” Wentworth’s hometown which was in what state?
Q11: In July 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas met in what town to plan their famous debates?
Q12: A 1908 race riot in Springfield led directly to the founding of what national organization?
Q13: Father Jacques Marquette founded a mission at the Kaskaskia Indian village in 1675 near the present site of what Illinois town?
Q14: The Mississippi River doubles in volume at what point/town?
Q15: What French holiday did Chicago observe in 1917 as a wartime gesture to France?
Q16: When it opened in 1855, what Illinois hotel was considered “the finest hotel west of New York City?”
Q17a: While working here as a rail-splitter and farmer, Abraham Lincoln made his first political speech in what town?
Q17b: How old was Lincoln when he gave his first political speech?
Q18: What county’s name comes from the Native American word for “white potato?”
Q19: What was the name of Nauvoo before Mormons settled there in 1839?
Q20: How many miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan does Illinois have?
Q21: Where was Illinois’ first state capital?



A1: Pullman—employees of George Pullman’s sleeping-car factory lived here
A2: It was originally named Orchard Field
A3: 56,400 square miles
A4: Illinoistown
A5: Logan, twenty-eight miles northeast of Springfield
A6: 652 square miles of water
A7: Little Egypt—the area was dubbed this because of its fertile soil and similarity to the Nile Delta
A8: Charles Mound
A9: Evanston
A10: New Hampshire
A11: Bement
A12: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
A13: Utica
A14: Cairo, where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi River
A15: Bastille Day
A16: DeSoto House in Galena
A17a: Decatur
A17b: Twenty-one years old
A18: Macoupin
A19: Commerce
A20: 63 miles of shoreline
A21: Kaskaskia—from 1818-1820

Did you know?

It is a well-known fact that Springfield is the third town to serve as capital of Illinois after Kaskaskia and Vandalia both held the distinction during the state’s early days, but did you know Abraham Lincoln’s role in changing the location of Illinois’s capital city?

180 years ago this spring, State Representative Abraham Lincoln and the eight other legislators representing Sangamon County convinced their colleagues to support moving the Illinois state Capital from Vandalia to Springfield.

When the state was first settled, much of the population was concentrated in southern Illinois, so the territorial capital was in Kaskaskia. As the population shifted to the north over time, the capital was moved to Vandalia. The legislature specified that Vandalia was to remain the official center of state government for 20 years, as lawmakers knew that people would continue to settle in northern Illinois.

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408px Kazimierz PulaskiFor many children around the country, March 6 was just another day of the week growing up. For many Illinois children, however, it was Casimir Pulaski Day, which celebrates the life and legacy of Polish Gen. Casimir Pulaski.

Pulaski fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution and became known as one of the “Founding Fathers of the American Cavalry”.

Pulaski Day is a particularly important holiday in Chicago, where almost 200,000 Chicagoans are of Polish decent, one of the largest Polish communities in America. Additionally, Polish is the third most commonly spoken language in Chicago behind English and Spanish.

For more information about Casimir Pulaski and the other contributions Chicago’s Polish community has made, visit the Polish Museum of America’s website.

blood donationThe first blood bank in the United States was in Chicago at Cook County Hospital (now Stroger Hospital). Hungarian-American doctor Bernard Fantus founded the blood bank in 1936.

World War I increased demand for blood transfusions. Prior to blood banks, whenever a patient needed blood doctors had to find a donor with a matching blood type immediately. To solve this problem, Dr. Fantus sought to find out if blood could be preserved for longer than a few hours and discovered that blood could be preserved for ten days. This led to key advances in modern medicine as doctors were now able to perform surgery and save lives more easily than they had in the past.

In its first year, 1,354 blood transfusions were performed at the Cook County Hospital Blood Bank. The creation and success of the first blood bank in the U.S. led to the opening of thousands more across the country. Each year, 6.8 million Americans donate blood, and more than 20 million blood components are transfused. Since 1936, countless lives have been saved because of Dr. Fantus' work.