Local republicans hold card drive

As a way to show their support for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s speedy recovery, the Champaign County Republican Party is sponsoring a community-wide card shower where the campus and community residents can drop off cards at various locations to send their own supportive message to Kirk.

The idea for the card drive came from a Champaign County Republican Party, or CCRP, member as well as other local and statewide events to send support for Kirk, said Habeeb Habeeb, CCRP treasurer.

People can drop off their own cards or make their own on site at various locations in the area, including JM Reed Jewelers and Merry Ann’s Diner.

August Johnson, CCRP member, said the group wanted to have drop-off centers across the Champaign-Urbana area so community members could have an easier time accessing them.

“We wanted to allow the public to support him on his recovery and send any well wishes that they had,” Johnson said.

Kirk is currently undergoing rehabilitation from the stroke he had in January.

Dr. Richard Harvey of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said Friday that Kirk’s good health and fitness before his stroke will work in his favor as he recovers.

Habeeb said this is the perfect time to hold the card drive.

“The timing is important because he just got transferred to a rehab center. This will encourage him and give him strength to do a good job in rehab,” he said.

Kirk was born in Champaign, and Habeeb said Kirk always does a good job of visiting Champaign and other local towns in the area.

“A lot of times (politicians) don’t show up here much and he has made a great effort to come to Champaign enough and listen to our concerns,” Habeeb said. “It makes him a really a special guy in our eyes.”

Democrats and independents are also encouraged to participate in this event as well. Habeeb said Kirk is not solely the senator for Republicans, but he’s “a senator for all of Illinois.” Kristin Williamson, public relations head for CCRP, said this event is primarily for the community to be involved in and not just Republicans.

“The shower for Sen. Kirk is an effort the entire community, regardless of political affiliation, can feel good about taking part in,” Williamson said. “When a member of our community becomes ill, it reminds us that we’re all in this together.”

The card shower will continue until Friday, Feb. 24. Specific drop-off locations can be found on the Champaign County Republican Party’s “website”:http://www.champaigncountyrepublicans.org/.

_The Associated Press contributed to this report._