NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Libertyville Rotary Sunrise and Zengeler Cleaners announced the results of their 2018 Coats for Vets clothing collection drive.
This year’s effort, Zengeler Cleaners reports, resulted in 2,186 coats and jackets, along with hundreds of pairs of gloves, scarves and other winter garments, collectively valued at more than $300,000.
It’s become a fall tradition: for the past several years, they have teamed up to collect coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing in support of the nation’s veterans. It’s their way to say “thank you” to our vets for providing the freedom we enjoy, Zengeler notes.
“There are many challenges facing our veterans as they return from active duty,” relates Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners.
“The two leading examples are readjusting to civilian life and returning to the workforce. Sadly, many of the jobs they held before leaving to serve their country are no longer available, which makes the prospects of finding meaningful work more difficult than ever,” Zengeler says.
With surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the cleaners writes, along with more recent veterans serving on the front lines in the Middle East as well as other conflicts, there are thousands of veterans in the United States … too many of whom find it challenging as they transition back to a civilian life.
Zengeler points out: “To support our veterans, Libertyville Rotary Sunrise along with Zengeler Cleaners and our customers wanted to make a positive difference in their lives as a way to show our gratitude for the sacrifices they’ve made on behalf of all Americans.”
The below-average temperatures experienced from late October and throughout November have made this year even more challenging for out-of-work veterans, he says. Food, shelter and clothing are often quite difficult to come by, particularly when it comes to seasonal items, such as winter coats and jackets.
“Fortunately, support for this cause continues to be strong every single year,” continues Zengeler. “The local community pulled together with timely donations to once again show we really care about our veterans.”
The cleaners’ two Libertyville stores once again served as drop-off locations for the donations. After the items were collected, it inspected, repaired as needed, and cleaned every donated item.
Being an active Rotarian is a Zengeler family tradition: Bob Zengeler Sr., Tom’s father, is now in his 59th year as a Rotarian, while Tom is a charter member of the Libertyville Rotary Sunrise Chapter and has had perfect attendance since that Chapter was founded in 1987, it notes.
Rotary International is a worldwide organization of 1.2 million 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.