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Blue Star Families and CSX Partnership Continues Its Mission to Bridge the Military-Civilian Divide in Chicago

October 21, 2019

CHICAGO, IL – The partnership between Blue Star Families and CSX continues its expansion and mission across America with its final 2019 chapter launch Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 11 AM CDT to 1 PM CDT at the Brookfield Zoo Discovery Center. The Chicago Chapter has the opportunity to support more than 230,000 military members and their families by connecting them with their civilian neighbors through career resources, outdoor recreation, reading programs, and other engagement opportunities.

“Military life is full of changes and challenges,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “It’s so important to create opportunities for them to build connections in their communities. In Chicago, thanks to our partnership with CSX, military families will have the connections and support they need to feel supported and at home.”

Through Pride in Service – a company-wide commitment to honor and serve veterans, military, and first responders – CSX partnered with Blue Star Families to connect service members and their families with the resources and support they need , when and where they need it most.

“We are proud of our partnership with Blue Star Families and the tremendous impact we’ve made together for military families across the country,” said Bryan Tucker, Vice President of Corporate Communications at CSX. “We are thrilled to extend our support to many deserving Chicago-based military families and to continue our partnership in even more cities next year.”

According to Blue Star Families’ 2018 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 48 percent of military families do not feel a part of the civilian communities in which they live and want more significant opportunities to connect with their civilian neighbors. Only 18 percent of military families feel the general public understands their sacrifices, and only 19 percent feel the general public is aware of the challenges service places on families.

“This is why the need for meaningful connections between civilian and military families is crucial, especially here in Chicago where our military communities are dispersed throughout the larger Chicago area,” said Sarita Connelly, Blue Star Families’ Chicago Chapter Director.

The launch of Blue Star Families’ Chicago Chapter will take place at the Brookfield Zoo where CSX employees and their families will come together with military families to enjoy a “Boo at the Zoo” Family Day. All families will have the opportunity to complete games and crafts to receive
fall-themed prizes. Additionally, adults and children can participate in a costume contest featuring a Chicago-based celebrity judge.

World-renowned bass player and songwriter, Tommy Sims, will join the event as a special guest and will perform the National Anthem and select songs. Sims most notably played bass guitar on the Bruce Springsteen and the “Other Band” tour and co-wrote Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

“Growing up as a kid from the Southside of Chicago, this city hosting this event has special meaning to me,” said Tommy Sims. “To perform for the brave families that support their loved ones who are serving our country in the military is truly humbling and I look forward to sharing songs that inspire hope and love.”

All families in attendance will receive giveaways, while category winners in the costume contest will receive larger gifts from favorite Chicago attractions. The event will culminate with attendees participating in the “Boo at the Zoo” costume parade, a favorite fall activity for all ages.
High-resolution photos will be available following the event here .

CONTACT:
Blue Star Families: Jusika Martinez, 805-657-5041, [email protected]
CSX: Sheriee Bowman, 855-955-6397, [email protected]

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About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged
tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members nationwide. With Blue Star Families, military families can find answers to their challenges anywhere they are. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.

About CSX
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For
nearly 190 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike.

For more information, visit csx.com.