Donation is among largest ever received to take veterans on trips

Contact: Chris Marsicano, President, Tavern League of Wisconsin, (262) 745-9473
Mark Finnegan, President, VetsRoll, (608) 207-8319

Milwaukee – The Tavern League of Wisconsin donated more than $50,000 Thursday to an organization that honors both veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” by taking them on all-expenses-paid motor coach trips to war memorials in Washington, D.C.

The check for $51,000 was presented to VetsRoll at the Tavern League’s 2018 Spring Conference in Milwaukee. Since October, more than 30 county chapters of the TLW have held fund-raisers at members’ taverns and restaurants to raise money for the donation, which will fund trips for more than 50 veterans.

VetsRoll, based in South Beloit, Ill., takes up to 400 veterans and “Rosie-the-Riveters” – a name given to the factory workers, typically women, who maintained U.S. manufacturing during World War II – on a four-day roundtrip to Washington, D.C., every May. The 10-bus caravan visits Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, and memorials honoring those who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and at Iwo Jima in World War II.

Vets Roll provides the long-overdue gift of closure, gratitude and respect for those who made incredible sacrifices in the name of freedom so many years ago by providing an all-expenses-paid bus trip to our nation’s capital,” said Chris Marsicano, President of the Tavern League of Wisconsin. “The Tavern League of Wisconsin is very proud to be able to help provide this experience for those who protected our freedoms and kept our country working during wartime.”

The VetsRoll trips are open to all veterans who served on active duty prior to 1964.

“This blossoming partnership with the Tavern League of Wisconsin gives VetsRoll exposure to thousands of patrons and veterans across the great state of Wisconsin,” said Mark Finnegan, President of VetsRoll. “This financial support allows us to continue our nationally unique program for another journey. We cannot thank our new ‘family’ of the TLW enough for this opportunity and support.”

Thursday’s donation, one of the largest ever given to VetsRoll, was preceded by a viewing of a video about the 2017 VetsRoll trip.

The VetsRoll experience is similar, but different, from the well-publicized Honor Flights that also take veterans to Washington, D.C., Finnegan said.

Due to the duration of VetsRoll trips, participants have plenty of time to get to know each other. Many become brothers and sisters in short order, he explained. The buses’ return to Beloit, Wis., is escorted by police and fire vehicles, and regularly met by thousands of cheering supporters.

“It’s just a magical transformation that takes place over those four days,” Finnegan said.

VetsRoll began operation in 2010, and is entirely funded by private donations.

“Members of the Tavern League of Wisconsin are extremely patriotic and community oriented,” Marsicano said. “Many of our customers are veterans, as well. This money was raised by the efforts of many, many people to give back to those who risked their lives for our country.”

The Tavern League of Wisconsin donated $15 million to more than 200 charities in 2017. Two other notable recipient organizations are Fisher House, which provides housing and transportation for families of veterans needing medical care, and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), an organization similar to Make-A-Wish that helps children whose parents work in the hospitality industry.

With more than 5,000 members, the Tavern League of Wisconsin serves the hospitality industry statewide with educational and promotional services, legal updates and legislative advocacy. More information is available at or by calling (608) 270-8591.

More information about VetsRoll is available at or by calling (800) 383-2267.

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