Coats For Vets Drive Nets Record Number of Donations

It's become a popular fall tradition: Libertyville Sunrise Rotary and Zengeler Cleaners teaming up to collect coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing in support of our nation's veterans. Its their way of saying "thank you" to our vets for providing the freedom we enjoy every day.

With surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and those who have more recently served in the Middle East and other conflicts, we now have hundreds of thousands of veterans in the United States. Too many of these heroes have fallen on hard times as they return to civilian life. Fortunately, this year's collection drive resulted in record donations, gathering 8,063 winter apparel items, including coats, jackets, gloves, scarves and other items. While these donations have an estimated retail value exceeding $400,000, there is no way to measure the value of how much these donations mean to the many appreciative vets in need.

"Veterans returning from active duty face many obstacles," said Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners. "Readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce are always challenging, especially as an evolving economy means jobs held before serving are often no longer in existence. Libertyville Sunrise Rotary, Zengeler Cleaners and many others have worked together to help vets overcome these obstacles - just one small way of showing our gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made on behalf of all Americans."

For out-of-work veterans, food, shelter and clothing are often even more difficult to come by, particularly for seasonal items, such as winter coats and jackets.

"That was a key factor in launching our first collection drive several years ago," continued Zengeler. "Fortunately, support for this cause has grown each year, with many people determined to show how much we care."

Zengeler Cleaners' two Libertyville stores served as drop-off locations for the donations. After the items were collected, Zengeler Cleaners inspected, repaired as needed and cleaned each item, then made sure the donations were ready to go in time for Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

The Libertyville Sunrise Rotary Club chapter was founded in 1987. Being an active Rotarian is a Zengeler family tradition, with the late Bob Zengeler serving for more than 60 years, while Tom is a charter member of Libertyville Sunrise Rotary. Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and works to build peace and goodwill in the world. The service organization continues to grow; there are now approximately 1.4 million Rotarians belonging to more than 46,000 clubs across the globe.

For more information about the Coats for Vets drive, visit Libertyville Sunrise Rotary on Facebook. Zengeler Cleaners has seven locations, with stores in Deerfield, Northbrook, Northfield, Winnetka, Long Grove and two stores in Libertyville.

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