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Local Veterans Receive Gift Of New Suit For Holidays

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In the past couple of weeks, there have been several stories about all kinds of groups trying to help others during the holiday season.

Now, the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania wants to make sure our former military members aren't forgotten.

Back in May, the Principal Financial Group started collecting gently-used suits that would be given to our veterans.

Ruby's Cleaners couldn't wait to help.

"All our freedoms are because of our veterans and everything that they do. My father was a World War II veteran, so we were very interested in coupling up with the Principal and with Tom James in order to give back," Rich Marusic said.

"We do custom clothing so this is a nice opportunity to get clothing donated to us that we could get re-hab it, alter it and get it out to the veterans," Bob Engel, of Tom James Company, said.

However, getting the veterans to actually take a suit took a little friendly arm-twisting.

"I am going through the crowd and telling them they need to take a suit because even though many of these men and women are no longer serving in the military, they are still serving their brothers and sisters in arms. They say, 'Oh, I will get a suit once it's all over and if they have any leftovers,'" Michele Margittai, of the Veterans Leadership Program, said.

They had more than 200 suits to give away and they made appointments for free alterations.

For the vets, the gift of a new suit was only part of the appeal of the event.

"A lot of people around to talk to about jobs and networking and of course, a great suit like she said to look good for the holidays around our families you know? That's a good feeling," United States Army Veteran Alan Gwinner said.

"We have exceeded our expectations. We have so many veterans here who are looking to connect with each other. They are so excited to spend some time socializing and spending time right before the holidays talking about what their plans are for the new year," Margittai said.

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