Of the seven Christmas trees displayed at Wheaton's Robert R. McCormick Museum, the one decorated by SaveAVet.org received the most votes from the public. All the charitable organizations entered in the contest will get a $2,500 grant, and Save-A-Vet will get an additional $2,500 from the McCormick Foundation for winning the popular vote.
“This was our fourth year for the event and it continues to grow in popularity,” said Diane Gutenkauf of Elmhurst, director of the McCormick Museum. “Our visitors loved the trees and responded generously. It’s an honor to support these organizations that do such important work throughout our region.”
Save-A-Vet rescues military and law enforcement working dogs and other service animals when they are no longer able to serve. It also provides housing and relief for disabled veterans who help take care of the animals.
The seven charities were invited to participate because their missions involve issues or causes that were meaningful to Robert McCormick. Cash contributions by visitors to the organizations totaled nearly $1,000—about $400 more than in 2012.
Participating in addition to Save-A-Vet, were:
- DuPage PADS, Wheaton: Provides housing, support services and employment.
- Honor Flight Chicago: Pays tribute to veterans, especially World War II vets, by flying them to Washington, D.C., at no cost for a day of honor and remembrance.
- Celebrate Differences, Oswego: Operates the Disability Awareness Center, a place for families of children with disabilities to feel part of a larger, accepting community. Services include monthly workshops, annual parties, play groups, autism and down syndrome support group.
- DuPage County Area Project, Glendale Heights: Develops and sponsors efforts aimed at preventing juvenile delinquency, creating strong community and keeping the community’s youth out of trouble.
- Glen Ellyn Children's Resource Center: Helps children from low-income families acquire skills in academics and social interaction to move successfully through grades K-12 and into adulthood.
- Friends of DuPage Forest Preserve District, Wheaton: Raises funds for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, advancing the District’s preservation and restoration goals and furthering its education and recreation programs.
The McCormick Museum is closed in January and will reopen on weekends in February for free guided tours. Hours in February are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum returns to its regular Tuesday-through-Sunday tour schedule in March.