Rockin’ out for the Veterans on April 16
Ray Reusch hasn’t had much downtime lately. The President of The Pillars of Freedom Foundation, a private organization supporting United States veterans and First Responders, has been churning through his Rolodex to enlist donors as part of a $300,000 fundraising campaign, which would commission an 18 foot bronze statue in the Northwest suburbs. The statue, depicting the famous photo of New York City firefighters hoisting the American flag over the tattered remains of the World Trade Center, has been in the works for nearly a year. It’s easily the biggest financial endeavor of this fledgling group’s brief history.
“It’s been a rewarding experience,” says Reusch. “You really learn that there are good people out there, generous people. They know how important it is to recognize veterans and their contributions. Our goal is simply to keep building awareness, no matter how big or how small. It’s all part of the process.”
Before the statue, the foundation was probably best known for putting together modest tributes on a shoestring budget. Each Veteran’s Day, members of the organization set up flag memorials in and around the Chicago suburbs, including in front of Spring Hill Mall’s Home Depot, along Route 31 and in front of the local Denny’s. The events have steadily gained steam among followers and vets in the area (Pillars recently organized a baby shower for vets and their moms at Piece A Cake Bakery). The next event should be even better.
The foundation will host a benefit/fundraiser on April 16 at the Penny Road Pub in Barrington, IL supporting veteran awareness and recognition. Rockin’ out for the Veterans welcomes local cover band Pirate Radio and special guest/veteran Amerlia Pressely for a night that Pillar’s hopes will bring more awareness to their cause.
This registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization continues to build from the ground up, planning even more annual events in and around the Chicago area. One of the things that makes The Pillars of Freedom unique is its steady base of volunteers, who continue to help carry out tasks such as setting up flags, preparing flags, overseeing fundraising, and more.
“We may be small but we’re never short on good times,” says Reusch. “Our hope is to continue to build our base so we can provide more funding to help our armed service personnel and first responders, who, surprisingly, still don’t have the kind of support system they deserve. I think a lot of people take them for granted. It only seems right that we should show our gratitude.”
Levinson and Stefani is proud to support The Pillars of Freedom Foundation and its volunteers. Consider making a donation to support its next event, Rockin’ out for the Veterans. The bands will be performing between 6pm and midnight. Tickets can be purchased at the door or from members that are selling them for $10. Vets get in free. You can also make a donation anytime at www.pillarsoffreedomfoundation.com.