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Senator McConnaughay spotlights everyday hero, Helen White of Sun City-Huntley Lions Club

This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights everyday hero, Helen White, Membership Officer at Sun City-Huntley Lions Club and head of the “Veterans Housing Starter Pack Program.”

In her five years as a member of the Lions Club, White has led the Membership Committee, which handles recruiting and onboarding new members, as well as charity initiatives.

Prior to retiring from her 26 years in the workforce, White made it a mission to dedicate her new free time to philanthropy and community projects. Last year, she discovered her new undertaking after seeing the success of Dundee Township’s Veteran Housing Starter Pack Program—and decided to start the first collection of its kind at the Sun City-Huntley Lions Club.

“The treatment of veterans is cruel and unfair. They went away and fought to keep us safe, and they often come back to nothing,” said White. “We owe them so much more. My husband and brother were both in the service, and when I saw how others are homeless or struggling, I needed to help, and the community responded.”

The program aims to provide assistance to veterans and their families who are in need of housing or extra help by holding a year-round collection to donate home necessities to Illinois veterans organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jesse Brown VAMC and TLS Veterans. White, as head of the program, volunteers her house as the drop-off location and organizes the community’s donations—such as cooking tools, appliances, dinnerware, utensils, and clothing, personal toiletries, and cleaning materials.

“The organizations are incredible and place as many of the veterans in housing as possible. But after being homeless, they often lack many of the basics that they need to live independently,” said White. “I encourage everyone to drop off donations whenever possible, because every little bit counts.”

Not only does White coordinate pickups and arrange all of the donated items, but she often shops for in-demand items she can personally contribute. Since the program’s start a year ago, the Lions’ Club has donated at least 75 van-loads to homeless veterans and veteran support organizations throughout the area.

In recognition of her contributions to the veteran community, the Northwest Herald recently named her one of their “2017 Everyday Heroes,” an award presented to a military hero or a leader who has made a difference in the lives of veterans.

“Helen truly is a local hero,” said Senator McConnaughay. “She recognized an important need in our community and dedicates her time and talents to help our veterans get the fresh start they deserve. Under her leadership, the program has come leaps and bounds since its beginning and is one of Huntley’s most incredible veterans efforts.”

Senator McConnaughay is proud to recognize Helen White for her leadership in the community and dedicated efforts to improve the lives of veterans. For more information on the “Veterans Housing Starter Pack Program,” please visit the Sun City-Huntley Lions Club’s website.

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