Batinick salutes nephew’s service, pushes for Meari memorial

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Batinick salutes nephew’s service, pushes for Meari memorial (Springfield, IL) – Veteran state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) recently rose on the House floor to salute his 17-year-old nephew who has joined the National Guard.

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“Today of all days, my nephew Jack Batinick as a junior signed up for the National Guard and is on his way to Fort Benning as we speak,” the lawmaker said in a video posted to YouTube. “I had to give him a shoutout.”

A longtime vocal advocate for military personnel, Batinick was recently named a member of the Special Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for the 99th General Assembly.

“Veterans are number one to me,” he said in a post to his website. “The men and women of our military risk their lives each and every day so that we can enjoy our freedoms as Americans. I am personally very grateful for their service and want to make sure our veterans have everything they need.”

Batinick is now also backing a proposal that would lead to a stretch of Route 59 being renamed after Private First Class Andrew Meari.

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“He protected some of his squad members in Afghanistan and he lost his life,” Batinick recently told lawmakers in passionate support of the move. “The story is quite amazing, but what’s amazing to me is he grew up in the same subdivision as I live in with my children and they played in the same park. Just a wonderful man who gave his life for the country and I think we realize how special that is after this last year.”

Nearby Mayfair Park has already been renamed in Meari’s honor. Meari, an Army PFC, was killed in Afghanistan in November 2010.

Batinick’s bill has now been referred to the House Rules Committee.

Batinick salutes nephew’s service, pushes for Meari memorial

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