Volunteers bond with veterans ahead of 12th Annual Vets Roll trip
BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) - A record number of youth volunteers will help facilitate the 12th Annual Vets Roll trip to Washington D.C. and bond with a veteran.
World War II and Korean War veterans from Wisconsin and Illinois will take a coach bus trip from Beloit, WI to Washington D.C. to see memorials and honor their service.
Organizer Mark Finnegan said usually they have eight youth volunteers but this year there are 18 young people spending their time assisting veterans with their needs.
”I wanted to sign up to travel to DC but also to help out our veterans,” 18-year-old volunteer Alexander Leschenko said.
Volunteer Mikayla Kind returned for a second year.
”I never served in the military, so it’s a way for me to thank them for all they did for me and our country,” she said. “I love talking to people and getting to know them. So, whatever they want to talk to me about that’s will happen.”
Each volunteer is paired with a buddy veteran to assist them throughout the three day trip and it starts with an interview.
Kind interviewed 92-year-old Korean War Veteran Richard Matt who said he is most excited about seeing the Korean War memorial and the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier for the first time.
Matt previously felt young people did not care to chat about his history, so Kind’s surprised interest made him emotional as he described what he wanted she and others to take away from the trip.
”Learn to be respectful and disciplined in their life, and treat others people like they should be treated like the good book says,” he said. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
Kind said helping veterans like Matt is the least she could do and she’s honored to thank those who served.
There are 175 veterans taking the Vets Roll trip this year.
A total of 138 volunteers will also help make the trip happen.
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