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Waukegan coat drive helps keep vets warm

Waukegan Township Supervisor gives shirts Bob Sittler thwere donated through CoDrive for Veterans. The coats shirts will be distributed homeless

Waukegan Township Supervisor gives shirts to Bob Sittler that were donated through the Coat Drive for Veterans. The coats and shirts will be distributed to homeless veterans. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 10, 2012 1:48AM

Late last year, the Park Place Senior Center on Lewis Avenue asked Waukegan Township residents to donate “clean, gently used coats” to help Lake County veterans — especially those struggling financially — get through the winter.

On Monday, volunteer Robert Sittler, himself a Navy veteran of the Korean War, picked up the donations for delivery to the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County. And he came away impressed by the community’s generosity.

“All of the coats were really beautiful,” Sittler said. “You know, I’ve been involved in coat drives before, and some organizations clean out their basements to send stuff in. But these were beautiful coats.”

Waukegan Township officials launched the first of what is expected to be an annual coat drive for veterans back on Oct. 1, collecting donations at Park Place. Township Supervisor Patricia Jones said in a statement that “we believe this new initiative will benefit the courageous men and women who have served our country.”

Sittler, who was asked to chair the effort, volunteered to load the proceeds into his van on Monday and guessed that about 75 coats were in evidence. Distribution is slated to be arranged by both the assistance commission and local veterans groups.

According to commission figures supplied by Park Place, there are approximately 40,000 veterans in Lake County and more than 4,500 are unemployed, with 400 receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Among the services provided by the commission is emergency financial assistance, which is subject to guidelines that include being honorably discharged and a permanent resident of Lake County.

For more information about the services available through the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County, call (847) 377-3344 or visit The commission’s office is located at 20 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Waukegan.

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