VetsRoll reunion unites veterans

BELOIT Wis. (WIFR) -- Once a year, veterans from around the country have the chance to attend the VetsRoll reunion.

"My father is my hero, and sometimes we sit down and he will tell me stories about the war, He was in the Air Force," said Rainy Zickert, a volunteer with VetsRoll.

Her father's time in the military is why Zickert has volunteered with VetsRoll for the past eight years. She's also attended four of their annual bus trips that take veterans to monuments around the country to be honored.

"Seeing the looks on their faces, when those little kids clap for them is just, amazing,” said Zickert.

Many, who go on the bus trips, also attend the annual VetsRoll reunion. Where they get the chance to reunite with friends they met while touring the country.

"I knew Bill from actually way back at high school age, but I didn't know him over the years because he lived up in Wisconsin and I asked him, and he decided he'd go. We are both really pleased that we did it, it was well worth every bit of it," said Ken Jensen, Korean War Veteran.

VetsRoll President Mark Finnegan started this organization as a way to honor his parents and to bring veterans together.

"My dad’s side was a world war two Navy vet and my mom is still living and is a Rosie the Riveter from world war two and so it morphed here in Beloit and has never caught on anywhere else. So people come from all over the country. We have veterans from 35 different states that come here to Beloit to take a trip,” said Finnegan.

The VetsRoll reunion is a way they raise money so all veterans can attend the bus trip for free.

"Next year will be our 10th year, and just about our two thousand veterans and Rosie the riveters will be able to take on our trip, free of charge," said Finnegan.

"What greater gift to give those people then to honor them,” said Zickert.

The 10th annual VetsRoll trip will be in May of 2019. You can find more information at vetsroll.org.