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WITC students donate to veterans

Standing with eight boxes loaded with donations for veterans collected from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-New Richmond are, from left, WITC students Jinessa Blouin, Milltown; Danielle Forrest, Glenwood City; and American Legion Post 80 Commander Ed Cooper.

(12/8/11): Though labeled “Tootie Fruities,” these boxes are filled to their box tops with donations from students and staff at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College especially for homeless veterans staying in a 40-man dormitory in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Unknowingly, the donation coincided with the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, when local flags flew at half-staff to recognize past and present veterans.

“One of our students saw the article in the New Richmond News about Veterans Assistance Centers needing donations,” says Cayla Wencl, student life director at WITC-New Richmond. “We decided to open it up to our students, and they responded – with nine boxes filled with clothing, food, blankets, toiletries, and more.”

According to Ed Cooper, commander, Post 80 of the local American Legion, the entire state of Wisconsin got less than $300,000 from the recent Department of Defense grants out of $28 million. “That’s just not enough money to meet the needs of our veterans.”

The drive was so successful, Cooper and Wencl may do another after the first of the year. “Our veterans need all the typical household items, too, such as cleaners, furniture, phone cards, linens, copier paper – even gift cards to Petco for their resident therapeutic dog, Samson, who has special dietary needs,” Cooper explains.

“We’re grateful to the WITC students for their great response to this need,” Cooper says. “I look forward to working with them again.”