November '18

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rv-pro.com November 2018 • RV PRO • 109 include those who served through 1963. However, any veteran or Rosie the Riveter who served in 1953 or previously bypasses the waiting list. "Besides that, we take them in the order we get their names on the list. And there is a waiting list every year," Finnegan says. Thus far, veterans have come from 35 different states. Seating assignments on the buses are random, so when the buses depart from Madison, Wis., vets from Indiana and Wisconsin can be seated next to veterans from Wyoming or California. "They're all strangers when we depart and they're brothers four days later. They all have that common thread of service," says Finnegan. Honoring Vets, While There is Still Time The organization is especially near and dear to the Finnegan brothers because their parents, Cy and Barbara Finnegan, served their country during the war. Cy was a WWII Navy veteran in the South Pacific Philippine Theater and Barbara worked as an Army Signal Corps civilian office employee as a decoder for the War Department in Arlington, Va. Cy lost a long battle to cancer in 2000 and never had the opportunity to view the memorials built in honor of the WWII generation, so VetsRoll was established in his honor, Finnegan says. VetsRoll is working to make sure all remaining vets have the opportunity to view the memorials in their honor, before it's too late. (Editor's note: The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates some 558,000 WWII veterans are still alive out of the 16 million who served during the war. Those veterans are dying at a rate of 362 a day, according to the VA.) "Every so often we go to a funeral or visitation and there will be a 90-year-old veteran lying in state in a VetsRoll shirt or hat. To think our volunteers had that much impact on a life in four days is amazing," Finnegan says. "We got a letter from a widow. In her husband's memoirs, she found he wrote that Mark Finnegan and VetsRoll were his life's heroes. "What hits home the most with me is that every dollar we raise is out of the private sector. No corporate ties or scholarships. No taxes. It's done through fundraising, memorial funds and donations," he adds. Newmar Onboard with VetsRoll Still, it doesn't hurt to have some help from the rest of the RV industry. About three years ago, Finnegan approached Newmar Corp. seeking a Class A motorhome to be what Fin- negan says is the hood ornament of the VetsRoll caravan going down the road. Newmar President Matt Miller says the decision to support the charity was an easy one. "Mark used to be one of our dealers. He knew the product and loved our company. He came to visit us and sat us down and told us what it was all about. RVPro_Nov2018_powerprofits.indd 1 10/1/18 3:52 PM

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