Chili fundraiser helps Honor Flight Nevada

After visiting the nation’s memorials built in honor of America’s heroes, four men along with many others wanted to give back to Honor Fight Nevada.

Larry Dunn, Lou Solsbury, Bob Martin and Jim Saad — the Four Horsemen — have known each other for more than 50 years when they served during the Vietnam War. In November over the Veterans Day holiday, they visited Washington, D.C., with other Vietnam-era service men and women as part of an honor flight that took them to a number of memorials including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a long wall that contains the names of service members who die as a result of the war. They were featured in a Nov. 18 article in the Nevada Appeal.

Last Saturday, they volunteered their time to help raise money for Honor Flight Nevada so more veterans can witness what they saw eight months ago. The annual chili cookoff at Glen Eagles Restaurant in Carson City serves as a major fundraiser for Honor Flight Nevada.

Dunn said the community support and veterans supporting other veterans were apparent during the weekend, while others asked about the Honor Flight program.

“Many people were inquiring because of our Honor Flight shirts,” Dunn said. “We were able to tell people about the mission, a life-changing event.”

Dunn, who belongs to several military organizations, said volunteering for Honor Flight Nevada is “priceless.”

Martin said he felt good to volunteer for the Honor Flight Nevada fundraiser, one of its largest of the year. “If I can do anything to help, I try to make time to help the people there.”

The fundraiser also gave Martin another opportunity to wear his Honor Flight Nevada T-shirt and to tell others about their trip and the program.

Likewise Solsbury and Saad enjoyed helping at the chili feed but as judges.

“It’s much more complicated,” Solsbury said about tasting the different types of chili and salsa. “We had a 15-minute briefing to taste the chili and clean our palates.”

Solsbury said he saw many people he knew and others he met for the first time.

Saad said being a chili-tasting judge was interesting.

“Anytime I can get together with my three brothers like that and anything for Honor Flight Nevada, I’m all for that,” he said.

Additionally, Saad and his three buddies enjoy their camaraderie, something that began to form in 1967.

“We’re all from separate parts of the country but came together in Reno,” he said.

Board member John “Big John” Konvicka helps organize the fundraiser.

“It was good overall,” he said. “We had a lot of competition on Saturday. We had great chili and a great time.”

Konvicka, who’s also a veteran, said many of the chili cooks were current or past world champions.

Jon Yuspa, executive director of Honor Flight Nevada, said the annual event, which is held the second weekend in July, raised about $3,000 to send three veterans to the nation’s capital. Each flight consists of a three-day trip, transportation in the Washington area, meals and accommodations.

“We have veteran camaraderie and outreach,” Yuspa said. “We have a lot of veterans there sharing their experiences.”

Yuspa said the event is a good mix for everyone who attended and participated as volunteers.


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