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Barbecue fundraisers net $182K for USO

August 24, 2018
A record 115 area new-car dealerships raised a combined $157,000 during July fundraisers for the USO of Illinois, and Turtle Wax donated an additional $25,000 toward the Barbecue for the Troops campaign.
The $182,000 collected from the campaign helps USO of Illinois serve more than 325,000 active duty, guard and reserve military and military family members annually through three program areas including USO centers, military family programs and community connection programs.  
"Local new-car dealers continue to up the ante each year of the USO Barbecue for the Troops program," said CATA Chairman Tony Guido. "While I am awed by its growing success, the fact that the USO Barbecue for the Troops program continues to gain momentum each year doesn’t surprise me. 
"As a dealer myself, I know firsthand the impact dealers have within their communities; they rally others like not many can. While it’s true dealers compete for business, they put that rivalry aside and band together to achieve a common goal, this time to support the USO of Illinois and local military."
Guido and other CATA directors and Turtle Wax CEO Denis John Healy presented a ceremonial check to USO of Illinois President Alison Ruble on Aug. 16 at  Clark After Dark, a popular USO street festival dubbed "Summer’s Last Hoo-ah!" 
In addition to the community fundraisers, the CATA and the USO spread awareness of Barbecue for the Troops via a #BBQ4Troops social media contest in which the public was encouraged to nominate an individual they deemed worthy of the Ultimate Backyard Barbecue. Nearly 150 nominations rolled in from social media: Wives nominated husbands who served overseas, parents nominated children who are active duty military, and friends nominated deserving friends. 
Ultimately, Christa Oody won the grand prize, having nominated her husband, Sgt. James Oody. In Christa’s submission, she wrote, "Like all service members, James sacrificed so much and carries the burden of war." 
The Oodys’ Ultimate Backyard Barbecue will include mouth-watering barbecue fare from Real Urban Barbecue, a special visit from Chicago Blackhawks alumnus Brian Campbell, and a Rookie Racing Experience, compliments of Turtle Wax.