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Barbecues raise $90,000 for USO

August 29, 2014
For the second straight year, new-car dealer members of the CATA on July 19 joined forces with the USO of Illinois to host Barbecue for the Troops events at 65 dealerships, and the $90,000 raised was double the amount of the inaugural effort. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will be donated to the USO to support local military and their families. 
"As chairman of the CATA," said Colin Wickstrom, "I am blown away not only by the commitment from our dealers to host barbecue fundraisers for the troops, but also by the amount of time and effort dedicated to making these grassroots events just extraordinary."
"Whether a dealer’s event individually raised $100 or $10,000 for local troops," he said, "Chicagoans couldn’t miss the amount of advocacy and support felt throughout the communities on that single day in July."  
USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble said: "It’s not only the Chicago Automobile Trade Association that has mobilized its dealers, but it’s the dealers who mobilized their communities to support military members and their families, and we greatly appreciate their support. The $90,000 raised will directly help more than 300,000 servicemen and women locally." 
Beyond the USO Barbecue for the Troops initiative, the CATA is committed to supporting both active duty military and veterans year-round.
As producer of the Chicago Auto Show, the CATA waives the show entrance fee for active-duty members of the military as a small gesture to thank them for their service. The CATA also ran a recent program named Operation Troop Train to train and hire veterans for careers in local automotive dealerships. 
Because of the CATA’s year-round commitment and support of local troops, the USO of Illinois plans to publicly recognize the association with the Salute to Leadership Award during the USO Star-Spangled Gala in October.  Past recipients include the Chicago Blackhawks and Boeing Co.
"We’re beyond humbled to be considered for the USO Salute to Leadership Award for our active role in supporting our troops," Wickstrom said. "We look forward to advancing in our partnership with the USO of Illinois and providing support to local troops through the association’s year-round efforts. This is a cause everyone can rally around."  
For more information on the CATA, visit