Beloit street to be named after VetsRoll, honoring veterans and Rosie the Riveters

Beloit street to be named after VetsRoll, honoring veterans and Rosie the Riveters Main Photo

18 Mar 2024

BELOIT — A portion of Riverside Drive in Beloit will be renamed VetsRoll Drive in honor of the war veterans and Rosie the Riveters who have experienced the free trip to Washington, D.C. held annually.

A dedication ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at the Harry Moore Pavilion in Riverside Park, 1160 S. Riverside Dr.

The section of Riverside Drive (Highway 51) from White Avenue to Henry Avenue will be renamed VetsRoll Drive. The Beloit City Council approved the dedication at its March 4 meeting. The motor coaches that carry the veterans and support staff to Washington, D.C. travel down this portion of Riverside Drive each year to begin the trip.

“It obviously is an honor, not only for me and the program, but for the community which has supported the program all these years,” said Mark Finnegan, co-founder of VetsRoll.
He added it is a program for the veterans and Rosie the Riveters, so they are due the highest honor.

This year will mark the 15th year for the VetsRoll trip to Washington, D.C. The trip is planned for May 19 -22 and 220 veterans and Rosie the Riveters will be boarding the motor coaches for this year’s trip. Veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War will be going on this year’s trip, Finnegan said.

Community members are welcomed to bring their own chairs, lunches or snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Rotary River Center building in Riverside Park.

VetsRoll provides a free trip for veterans and Rosies to so they can view the war memorials and experience other sights along the way. The trip concludes with a hero’s welcome back to Beloit with police and motorcycle escorts and fireworks.

A total of 2,470 veterans and Rosies have taken the trip since it was started in 2010. Veterans and Rosies from all over the country have taken part in the VetsRoll trip. The majority of the trip participants have come from Beloit, Janesville and Rockford.

Finnegan, who founded VetsRoll with his brother, John, said he never dreamed VetsRoll would go on for 15 years.

“Originally it was going to be a ‘one-and-done’ trip. But when I got back home, my phone started ringing and it hasn’t stopped ringing since,” he said.

Finnegan wanted to give special recognition to City Council President Regina Dunkin who spearheaded the effort to name a portion of the road VetsRoll Drive.

“She has been talking about this for several years,” Finnegan said.

He added he plans to attend the ceremony on April 7.

Buses carrying war veterans and “Rosie the Riveters” travel along Riverside Drive in Beloit in this file photo from May of 2023. A portion of Riverside Drive will be renamed VetsRoll Drive to honor the program and the veterans and Rosie the Riveters who go on the trip to Washington, D.C. 

Clint Wolf/Beloit Daily News

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