DOWNERS GROVE – Gov. Pat Quinn joined retired astronaut Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr. for a reenactment of Lovell’s famous 1968 “Christmas Eve Broadcast to Earth" on Monday, and the two got a little help from Downers Grove North High School.
DGN student Mary Doro and the father of student Anne Wagner joined the governor and astronaut in voicing the reenactment in front of Lovell’s Apollo 8 capsule at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Doro and Wagner were called the “heroes of Downers Grove North" by the governor on Oct. 15, the day Quinn pronounced as “Downers Grove North High School Day in Illinois” in honor of Anne Wagner’s bravery and her classmates’ passion to honor her.
At the re-enactment, the governor noted that heroism comes in many forms, and one example of it is seen in the story of Wagner, Doro and their Downers Grove North High School classmates.
Wagner, who has Down syndrome, missed half of her sophomore year and most of her junior year after being diagnosed with leukemia. After returning to school in her senior year, her friend – Doro – and other classmates launched a successful social networking drive to elect her 2013 Homecoming Queen.
During the reenactment, Doro read the part of Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, and Anne Wagner’s father read the role of Commander Frank Borman.
Lovell – who has family ties in Illinois – has joined Quinn in the past to promote the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund.
Launched by Governor Quinn when he was lieutenant governor, the fund provides grants to families of Illinois National Guard members and Illinois residents serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves to ease the financial burden at home when a loved one is deployed overseas.
The fund has distributed more than $15 million to 29,000 Illinois military families.