Leroy Lewandowski, a veteran who rode on the Vets Roll buses, is ushered through a welcoming crowd May 23, 2018, at the Eclipse Center in Beloit.


Customers of Culver’s restaurants in parts of southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois donated $24,793 to the Beloit-based VetsRoll program recently.

VetsRoll organizer Mark Finnegan said that’s enough money to send 40 veterans and Rosie the Riveters on the annual bus tour to patriotic sites in Washington, D.C.

The Culver’s restaurants contributed 11 percent of all sales during Veterans Day week, plus 100 percent from sales of “patriot sundaes.” Customers also often donate money during the promotion, Finnegan said.

The promotion started seven years ago at the Beloit Culver’s, when about $2,000 was raised, and has grown since then, with totals coming just short of $25,000 in the past two years, Finnegan said.

All Culvers’ stores in Green, Rock and Walworth counties participate, Finnegan said.

The next VetsRoll is set for May, when about 220 veterans and Rosies are scheduled. The trip will be the 10th annual, which will bring the total number of veterans and Rosies to just short of 2,000, Finnegan said.

Anyone wanting to donate can find out how at the website Vetsroll.org, or they can attend one of the many upcoming fundraisers, including one at the Orfordville American Legion on Saturday, which last year raised $51,000, Finnegan said.

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