Sixty-five Chicagoland New-car Dealers Host Barbecues for the Troops, Raise $90,000 for the USO of Illinois 

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2014) – For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association’s (CATA) new-car dealers joined forces with the USO of Illinois to host Barbecue for the Troops events at sixty-five dealerships on Saturday, July 19. The CATA host dealers not only exceeded last year’s fundraising benchmark, but more than doubled that amount elevating this year’s total to approximately $90,000. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will be donated to the USO to support local military and their families. 

“I am blown away not only by the commitment from our dealers to host barbecue fundraisers for the troops, but also the amount of time and effort dedicated to making these grassroots events just extraordinary,” said CATA Chairman Colin Wickstrom. “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.”  

“It’s not only the Chicago Automobile Trade Association that has mobilized its dealers, but it’s the dealers that mobilized their communities to support military members and their families, and we greatly appreciate their support,” said USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble. “The $90,000 raised will directly help more than 300,000 military and military families locally.” 

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. 

Because of the CATA’s year-round commitment and support of local troops, the USO of Illinois plans to publicly recognize the association with the Salute to Leadership Award during the USO Star-Spangled Salute Gala this fall. 

“We’re beyond humbled to be considered for the USO Salute to Leadership Award for our active role in supporting our troops,” said 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.” 

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