National Clothesline
Zengeler Cleaners collects more than 2,000 coats for vets
For the past several years, Libertyville Rotary Sunrise and Zengeler Cleaners have teamed
up to collect coats, gloves, scarves and other winter clothing in support of the nation’s
veterans as a way to say “thank you” to vets for their service to the country.
This year the tradition continued. Zengler Cleaners and Rotary collected 2,186 coats along
with hundreds of pairs of gloves, scarves and other winter garments, collectively valued at
more than $300,000. Donations were accepted at Zengeler’s two Libertyville stores through
October, then the Zengeler team inspected, repaired as needed and cleaned every single
item. The renewed items were delivered to to the VA Hospital in time for Veterans Day on
Sunday, November 11. 
With surviving veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, along with more recent
veterans serving on the front lines in the Middle East as well as other conflicts, there are
thousands of veterans in the United States, many of whom have found it challenging to
transition back to a civilian life.
“There are many challenges facing our veterans as they return from active duty,” noted
Tom Zengeler, president of Zengeler Cleaners. “The two leading examples are readjusting to
civilian life and returning to the workforce. Sadly, many of the jobs they held before leaving
to serve their country are no longer available, which makes the prospects of finding
meaningful work more difficult than ever.
“To support our veterans, Libertyville Rotary Sunrise along with Zengeler Cleaners and our
customers wanted to make a positive difference in their lives as a way to show our gratitude
for the sacrifices they’ve made on behalf of all Americans,” Zengeler said.
The below-average temperatures experienced from late October and throughout November
have made this year more challenging for out-of-work veterans. Food, shelter and clothing
are often quite difficult to come by, particularly when it comes to seasonal items, such as
winter coats and jackets.
“Fortunately, support for this cause continues to be strong every single year,” continued
Zengeler. “The local community pulled together with timely donations to once again show we
really care about our veterans.”
The Libertyville Rotary Sunrise Club chapter was founded in 1987. Being an active Rotarian
is a Zengeler family tradition: Bob Zengeler, Sr., Tom’s father, is now in his 59th year as a
Rotarian, while Tom is a charter member of the Libertyville Rotary Sunrise Chapter and has
perfect attendance since the chapter was formed.
Rotary International is an organization of business and professional leaders that provides
humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards, and works to build peace and
goodwill in the world. There are 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs in more than
200 countries.