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“She is our go to person when we need something because she goes above and beyond. She has enabled our office to hand out the homeless baskets when veterans get moved into housing so the essentials are taken care of and they can take care of their other needs,” McNichol said.
Laundry baskets filled with laundry soap, cleaning supplies, towels, wash cloths, toilet paper and towels, dish soap and so on go to each veteran as a thank you and welcome home.
“I want to help somebody who sacrificed themselves and now they are homeless or bouncing around from home to home. There is nothing like opening up a gift, it’s like going to school on the first day and already having the essentials,” Bustin said.
This summer, Bustin responded to a plea for pillows for the 17 veterans placed at Hope Manor. She did not want to take this to the ladies auxiliary, so we went to Sam’s Club in Joliet and spent her own money to buy new and clean pillows for each veteran placed.
“These veterans need a pillow to lay their head on. A bed is comfortable, but it’s much more comfortable with a new pillow,” Bustin said.
Bustin does not stop there. During the holidays, Bustin goes to Operation Care Package, which sends care packages to men and women who are deployed overseas.
She picks up items to take home to wrap, so the soldiers who receive the packages have presents to unwrap at Christmas. She said she sits at home, wraps and writes cards to the soldiers who serve over seas.
Bustin can also be found at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood as she places flags on graves of veterans on Memorial Day, works with Wreaths Across America in December, volunteers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and writes five to seven letters a week to give to veterans who take the Honor Flight.
She was a part of the group who raised $110,000 to place a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the cemetery so adults could teach their children about history and the sacrifices of our country.
“To honor a veteran is a wonderful feeling. I feel like I get more back than what I give,” Bustin said.