15,000 Donated Items Arrive for Veterans in Milwaukee County

Some 15,000 items were collected by City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County workers for homeless veterans and those struggling with the impact of service.

The truckloads of supplies, everything from new electric shavers to clothing and cleaning supplies, was carried in by volunteers and arrived at the Zablocki V.A. Medical Center Monday morning.

They'll be distributed through the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

"Many can't leave what they experience overseas behind," explained Kirsten Sobieski, Executive Director, Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. "Around holiday time it can intensify. Especially for those who are struggling."

Mayor Tom Barrett says it is something the folks around city hall have looked forward to this time of year for nearly a decade.

 "I love it," said the mayor. "My staff loves it. It's hard work but they understand it's meaningful."

From Meijer Foods to the Brewers Community Foundation, big business and organizations pitched in.

"When we all play on the same team, everybody wins," said Cecilia Gore of the Brewers Community Foundation. "So we are absolutely thrilled to play on this team with you."

County Executive Chris Abele says he always marvels at the range of veterans he meets on this occasion. Veterans who represent several generations and conflicts. He says it's a reminder to him that governmental policies will impact these men and women and lawmakers always need to be mindful of that.

Frank West, a Vietnam Veteran and volunteer, said even for those out of active duty, there is a call to serve. To make sure no man or woman is left behind.

"I, like you, am honored to have served," he told the crowd that gathered for a special ceremony marking the delivery. "Now I am honored to be physically fit and serve you."

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