By Jeff Gallatin
A Bay Village man who served during the Korean War has cooked up a sweet deal with some busy friends to help raise funds for wounded soldiers.
Bill Toole, who for many years has organized a wide range of events from golf tournaments to business functions, has turned his attention to the Wounded Warrior Project. As part of his work, Toole has teamed up with longtime Cleveland area candy giant Malley’s. For every $25 donation, people will receive a $10 Malley’s gift certificate for use at any Malley’s store.
For Toole, who downplays his time in the Army, helping young soldiers is the primary goal of this project, which will run from May 1 through Memorial Day.
“I didn’t go over until near the end of the war,” he said. “I was playing baseball while other people were out there fighting. Now, I see those TV commercials narrated by country western singer Trace Adkins where there are young soldiers coming home hurt, with some blind, missing limbs, having problems and some committing suicide because they didn’t think they had a lot of help available. That’s just not right, and I wanted to do something.”
At the same time, Toole said, he’s aware of the economy and that many people are strapped for funds and can’t make long-term financial commitments.
“I know I can’t afford a monthly payment like $19 a month or anything similar, but I still wanted to help,” he said. “I figured that there are other people like me who want to help, but can’t do it every month.”
Toole said he thinks of two friends who also are veterans, with one noting that any donation helps veterans who need assistance.
“One of them said, ‘Maybe this will help them with the cross they bear’ from the service they did for us,” Toole said. “I just knew I had to get involved in some way.”
After talking about it with friends and other interested parties, Toole said he settled on a $15 one-time donation as a good figure.
He said the assistance of others like Jane Amato of Rocky River and the Malley family has been invaluable.
“Jane has done a lot of the fliers and other work that I just can’t do,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to get this done without her. But she said she doesn’t want a lot of attention; she doesn’t want to take any attention away from the soldiers and their needs.”
Toole, a longtime friend of the family, noted that the Malleys also are emphasizing keeping the attention on the soldiers.
“They do a lot of different things for people and groups in our communities,” he said. “This one just started because I asked Dan Malley if he wanted to donate anything, and he decided to donate $50. Then he felt the cause was worthy enough to have Malley’s Chocolates expand their involvement. So they decided that for every $25 donation, the donor would receive a $10 Malley’s gift certificate.”
Dan Malley said the program is worthy of strong support.
“‘Bill and my father have been friends since the ’30s, and we know he gets involved in many worthy causes,” Malley said. “Malley’s is pleased to help support a cause like this and thank the veterans and the people who are helping them.”
Toole emphasized that every cent from the donations will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, with 18 percent of the donations slated to go to administrative costs and the balance to the warriors or soldiers.
Toole said the actual location of the Wounded Warriors Project is 4899 Belfort Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256. It can be reached at 904-296-7350 or at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
Toole said people are not locked into having to give $25, noting they can stick with the original $15 figure.
“But we thought a lot of people will give the extra $10 to get the $25 Malley’s certificate,” he said. “Whatever they do, we appreciate their interest or concern.”
Toole said all donations must be submitted by check. The checks should be made out to Wounded Warrior Project and should be sent to Malley’s Chocolates, 1685 Victoria Ave., Lakewood, Ohio, 44107. Toole reminded people to be sure not to include his name or Malley’s on the check.