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Dealership fundraisers, including some barbecues, help USO mission

October 30, 2020
Maybe the pomp was largely missing from this year’s Barbecue for the Troops campaign, but benevolence was abundant, as about 60 area new-car dealers this year raised more than $30,000 for the USO of Illinois.
A final sum will be announced in November, as many dealers welcomed online donations throughout October. About half the participating dealers still managed to host barbecue events on Oct. 3.
Area dealers have raised about $930,000 for the USO of Illinois in a partnership that dates to 2013, when the first Barbecue for the Troops fundraisers were held. The money is used to help local active and retired military members and their families.
"Despite these challenging times, it’s evident that dealers want to make a difference," said CATA Chairman Kevin Keefe. "The mentality to help others is deeply rooted within local car dealers, and they’re among the first to roll up their sleeves and help when people need it most.
"While the USO Barbecue for the Troops campaign is just one of many charitable initiatives that dealers support, it’s a perfect example of how these local businesses can rally their communities like not many can to all come together around one great cause."
The USO of Illinois serves more than 350,000 active duty and reserve troops and their families via three program areas: USO centers, military family programs, and community connection programs.
USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble said the funding enables 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."