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USO of Illinois to honor CATA

September 26, 2014
The USO of Illinois on Oct. 25 will honor the Chicago Automobile Trade Association with the USO Salute to Leadership award for its continued dedication and support of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The award will be bestowed during the USO of Illinois Star-Spangled Salute Gala. Held at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom, the gala is widely acclaimed as Chicago’s premier patriotic event, held in honor and support of the men, women and families of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The CATA has for the past two summers coordinated barbecue fundraisers for USO of Illinois which raised more than $37,000 in the inaugural effort and $90,000 in July. 
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 called Operation Troop Train to train and hire veterans for careers in local automotive dealerships. 
"We’re beyond humbled to receive the USO Salute to Leadership award for our active role in supporting our troops," said CATA Chairman Colin Wickstrom. "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 certainly a cause everyone can rally around."
Sixty-five area new-vehicle dealerships held barbecue fundraisers in July. One hundred percent of the proceeds they raised was donated to USO programs that support deployed troops, military families, wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers, and families of the fallen.
"The $90,000 raised," said USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble, "will directly help more than 300,000 military and military families locally." 
The USO, a nonprofit, non-political organization, has for 73 years provided Americans with a tangible way to express appreciation and gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of the nation’s troops and their families.
Wickstrom said: "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, Chicagoans couldn’t miss the amount of advocacy and support felt throughout the communities on that single day in July."  
Past recipients of the USO Salute to Leadership Award include Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonough, president of the Chicago Blackhawks; Rick Stephens, a senior vice president at The Boeing Co.; and David Storch, chief executive of AAR Corp.
For more information on the Oct. 25 gala and to order tickets, go to