BELOIT—Fifty participating Culvers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Idaho raised a total of $44,503 for VetsRoll as part of the 10th Annual Culver’s/VetsRoll Veterans Day Week Fundraiser on Tuesday, which also marked the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The funds raised included some private customer donations as well.
Representatives from VetsRoll, Finnegan’s RV and the area Culver’s restaurants gathered Tuesday morning to celebrate with a check presentation and photo. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go into VetsRoll general funds to go toward future trips expenses, tentatively planned from May 22-25, 2022.
VetsRoll, which provides free motor coach transportation to Washington, D.C. for war veterans, so they can view the war memorials, has canceled trips in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the check presentation ceremony at Culver’s in Beloit, an entourage toting frozen custard stopped at Beloit Senior Living to pass out Culver’s custard to World War II Navy Veteran Stan Van Hoose, 101, and other residents at Beloit Senior Living in honor of Van Hoose’s service. Van Hoose survived the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor.
In earlier interviews with the Beloit Daily News, Van Hoose said he always wanted to be a sailor and his tough upbringing served him well during WWII as he became the Pacific Fleet light heavyweight boxing champion and attained the rank of Chief Quartermaster in 46 months. Van Hoose was aboard the USS Maryland, one of the eight battleships which were attacked, on Dec. 7, 1941.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese fighter planes on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii resulted in 2,403 Americans being killed and 1,178 being wounded, launching America into World War II. As the USS Maryland was moored to the USS Oklahoma, Van Hoose saw the USS Oklahoma roll over. Van Hoose also witnessed the USS Arizona blow up, according to Beloit Daily News archives.
Prior to receiving his custard, Van Hoose said he really enjoyed being in the Navy.
“I did a good job and am proud of it,” he said.
VetsRoll, Inc. is a southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois based charity providing all-expenses paid trips to see the War Memorials in Washington, D.C. for Veterans of World War II, the Korean War and other veterans who served through 1966. Rosie-the-Riveters who served at home while men went to war also are welcome on the trips.
This year’s fundraiser was about 8% higher than last year’s $41,508, despite five fewer stores participating due to ongoing staffing challenges, but on an individual location basis, was up an astounding 15% over 2020, said VetsRoll co-founder Mark Finnegan.
Each of the 50-participating Culver’s locations pledged one day between Nov. 6 and 11 to donate 11% of its entire day’s sales to support VetsRoll.
In addition, many stores sold a special patriot sundae for $1 and donated those proceeds to VetsRoll.
Not only were sales strong, but many generous customers reached deep in their pockets to help this year.
“Despite the ongoing challenges in the food service industry over the past two years, our friends at these Culver’s locations continue to support local charities in an incredible fashion. As a result, our Veterans and our VetsRoll program are beneficiaries from the local communities’ customers knowing and recognizing their local Culver’s locations for that mindset,” Finnegan said.