“Let’s Roll VetsRoll,” was the call that went out Monday morning (May 17) as a caravan of recreational vehicles and motorcoaches left South Beloit, Wis., on its way to Washington, D.C.
Aboard the vehicles were about 128 veterans who are on their way to see the World War II Memorial in the nation’s capital, according to the Beloit Daily News.
Mark Finnegan of Finnegan RV in South Beloit was busy doing last-minute preparations for the trip, making sure all the veterans who signed up had shown up and making sure everyone was assigned to the proper vehicle.
Finnegan, who has been organizing the trip since February, said the trip will be about 2,000 miles when it’s all done.
Friends and family gathered in the parking lot of the Flying J travel center before sunrise Monday to see the traveling troupe off on their journey.
Ellen Kuchta and Grace Konter turned out to wish a good trip to their uncle, Dave Coles, of Beloit. Coles served in the U.S. Navy in World War II and served aboard the USS Hornet aircraft carrier.
The two women stood outside the RV that would carry Coles to Washington with flags in hand, excited about the whole event.
“This is the first time he will see the memorial,” Konter said.
Bill Midgett of Rockford was a medic in the Army during WW II. He also said this will be his first time visiting the WW II Memorial.
“This is the best,” he said. “This is once in a lifetime for most vets,” Midgett said.
Vern Brown, who formerly lived in Beloit, served in the 32nd Infantry Division during WW II. He heard about the VetsRoll trip through his brother-in-law, Jack Willis. As he boarded the RV that would take him to the nation’s capital, he wanted to give the trip a try.
“Sounds good so far. I’ll let you know once I get back,” he said with a laugh.
Leo Craney, who was the driver for the No. 4 RV, said the caravan planned to stop in Somerset, Pa. tonight before pushing on to Frederick, Md. Craney said instead of having nine RVs, three charter buses and a support van cruising around Washington, the group will take a few buses to the memorial and to tour other sites in the area.
The group is expected back in the Stateline Area Thursday night at about 8:45 p.m. for a welcome home event at Central Christian Church on Milwaukee Road in Beloit.