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Dealer BBQs net $155K for USO

August 25, 2017
About 100 are dealerships raised a combined $155,000 this summer for USO of Illinois programs and services for local troops and their families. An official check presentation was made Aug. 17 at a USO event.
Over five Barbecue for the Troops campaigns, the dealerships have collected more than $570,000 for USO of Illinois causes.
Ray Scarpelli Jr., the CATA chairman, said: "Even beyond the funds raised, which is unequivocally important, each year the dealers pour their hearts, souls and personal resources into making each individual community event unique and special.
"Past events have included everything from patriotic ceremonies including a 21-gun salute, classic car shows involving local car clubs, live bands and other musical entertainment, giant inflatable bounce houses for kids, face painting, balloon-making, dog washes and, of course, barbecues — all to draw the interest of the community and bring crowds out on a summer Saturday to support the USO of Illinois."
The agency serves more than 318,000 active duty guard and reserve military, and military family members each year via three program areas: USO centers, military family programs, and community connection programs.
"I believe this is the year that we’ve reached the tipping point," Scarpelli added. "More and more, people recognize that new-car dealers are the pillars of their communities and are well-positioned to bring together their neighbors in support of this amazing cause like few can. We’re thrilled with the participation and support this year, and we look forward to partnering with the USO of Illinois for many years to come."
USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble said the funding will enable the agency to remain "the ‘force behind the forces’ by keeping our service members connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.
With heightened dealer participation and community awareness, the CATA and the USO of Illinois already are gearing up for 2018. Next summer’s official Barbecue for the Troops will be at local dealerships on Saturday, July 14.