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Coupon-clipper supports troops

URBANA -- An area woman is giving back by clipping hundreds of newspapers at a time.
URBANA -- An area woman is giving back by clipping hundreds of newspapers at a time. You've heard of people donating money, clothes, gift cards, even time. But this woman is comforting those who serve by clipping coupons. The activity is catching on around the community. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield introduces our Hometown Hero.

Most people don't have the time, the patience or the motivation to clip coupons, but Gloria Tillman has become a coupon clipping connoisseur.

"I count and sort. A lot of times, at night, I sit in front of the TV and clip coupons and I sort them, food or non-food. If I have two or three of the same flyer, I can cut out three coupons at a time. That cuts down on the time."

Her favorite place to clip is here at the Urbana VFW with her Women's Auxiliary Club.

"I found a newspaper article about coupons to overseas troops. I brought it to the ladies and said, 'if you bring them in, clipped or un-clipped, I will send them out.' It has to be expensive and coupons are a way for them to save money."

That was three years ago. Since then, this circle of savers has enlisted a lot of help.

"My next door neighbor collects coupons for me and my girlfriends across town collect coupons for me and then family members. We have a jar here at the post, so anybody can drop off coupons."

It's sort of like Feed the Children, but for men and women serving overseas. You choose a base, pick a member of the military, clip coupons and send.

"One year, we sent $68,000 worth of coupons. The year before, we sent over $74,000. We got a letter from the Marine base that said, 'please don't send them so often.'"

But now, instead of going to just one military base, the coupons go to four different ones around the country.

"We have a Navy person in Italy, Army in Germany and we have Air Force in Portugal. Support your troops. They work hard."

But, the reason Tillman does it isn't cut and dry. It's personal.

"My father served in World War Two. He was a medic in England. My son did a tour of duty in Iraq. And, I've always appreciated our service members. It's basically open to the community. Anyone who wants to drop off coupons can do it."

If you're into "couponing," send Gloria the ones you don't use. Military personnel can use coupons up to six months after they've expired, but she says, don't wait too long because it takes time to ship them.

Gloria Tillman
1303 East Main Street
Urbana, IL 61802
(217) 367 - 4197
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