Representatives of organizations, and the public- presented Vets Roll founder Mark Finnegan with donations totaling over $10.040.

Vets Roll headed out on their 14th journey, taking more than 200 veterans to see the sights in Washington DC on May 19.

Vets Roll has traveled 337,000 miles by convey allowing Veterans to see memorable sites such as National Museum of United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps Museum, Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials, Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, National WW11 Memorial in Washington, MLK and FDR Memorials, and Wright Patterson AFB, in Dayton, Ohio.“

Giving an extra boost of support to Vets Roll the Rockton American Legion Auxiliary of Unit #332, the Ryan Master’s Foundation, and private donors came together to present a check to Vets Roll founder Mark Finnegan on Monday, May 6 at the Rockton American Center, (Legion).

Representatives from the Auxiliary presented $1,200, and the RDM Foundation had a check for $4,000. Bus donations from the public were $4,800, plus another $40 from the generosity of many organizations and individuals. Combined totals equaled a total amount of $10,040.

Vets Roll has hosted 2,470 WW11, Korean and Vietnam Era Veterans and Rosie the Riveters from 38 states and the District of Columbia since its inception.

Vets Roll started in 2010 by John and Mark Finnegan in loving memory of their father Sy who was a businessman and a WWII Veteran. Finnegan’s mom Barbara worked as an Army Signal Corps civilian office employee as a Decoder for the War Department in Arlington, VA. She was also treated as Rosie the Riveter.

A full medical team and loving volunteers play an important part in every trip. Creating a wonderful comrade are 170 assistants on the buses.

Each organization that donated holds a special appreciation of Veterans.

The RDM Foundation was formed in memory of Ryan D. Masters.

Masters spent a large part of his life in Rockton attending Rockton Grade School, Whitman Post Elementary, Stephen Mack and Hononegah Community High School. After high school he went to Southwest Minnesota University for one semester before transferring to Platteville for a year.

After signing up to serve in the Marines Masters, he began serving in the United States Marine Corp in 2014 where he earned his rank as a Corporal. Corporal Masters finished deployments in Okinawa in 2015, 2016 and 2017, a total of two six-month deployments. Masters worked on the Delta Amphibious Assault Vehicle as a Crew Chief.

After he returned to civilian life he struggled to readjust. He passed away on March 9, 2021 at the age of 28 after committing suicide.

The RDM Foundation has donated money to Mission 22 and to the Rockton American Legion. The RDM Foundation continues to expand support of all veterans while adhering to their goals of raising awareness of veterans’ suicide.

Friends and family join in remembering Corporal Ryan Masters during an annual golf outing, this year’s event is slated for June 8.

“We are also aligned with Macktown Construction, who donates $100 per design to the RDM Foundation,” Ryan’s mother Jamie Kuney said.

“We often think of helping veterans who are struggling as being younger veterans, however, this donation may give an older Veteran some joy,” Kuney said.

“We never know who may be struggling.”

The Auxiliary’s donation came from money collected through a Poppy fund. Money in this fund is used for items directly related to veterans. Village President Peterson reads a “Poppy Proclamation” every year in May.

Rockton’s American Legion Auxiliary gives out poppies each year in exchange for a possible donation to be used to further help in the support of all veterans. The purpose of the poppy program is to elevate awareness and respect for our veterans by educating about its significance.

Millions of poppies are produced by disabled veterans to help them retrain and to gain strength and mental sharpness.

In hopes of donating toward future Vets Roll trips, and to help fill other needs, the Auxiliary and friends will be hosting “Poppy Days” on May 24 and 25 and May 31 and June 1 from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 4 p.m., on Blackhawk and Main Streets.

Mark Finnegan expressed his immense gratitude for these donations and all of the amazing support for Vets Roll.

Bring your flags and signs to welcome our heroes home at the victory parade at the Eclipse Center the evening of May 22 with an estimated arrival time of 9:15 to 9:30 p.m.

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