On September 11, VVA Chapter 223 held its annual Dinner and Dance fundraiser. This was the fourth annual event of this kind the Chapter has staged at the end of summer. This year the Chapter joined with the next generation of vets from the Santa Rosa VFW Post 1844. The infusion of younger OIF/OEF blood seems to be just what we ageing Vietnam vets needed. The date (9/11) set the theme for this year’s event and first responders were on hand and honored at this veteran community fundraiser.
The evening commenced when guests started arriving around 5pm. The late summer heatwave did not hinder the enthusiasm as many guests wore ties and gowns while others dressed more casually. Formal or casual--the mood was upbeat and patriotic.
Master of Ceremonies Julia Sutton opened the evening’s events. The Colors where posted by the Santa Rosa Fire Department’s Color Guard and the National Anthem was tastefully sung by Andrea Ingraham
Dinner was catered by Louie's Fine Foods and was served buffet style. Music was provided by DJ Andy Martinez of A.N.D.Y - Brown Production, DJ – 173rd. Andy really knows how to set the mood for all occasions as many of these guests already knew from past experiences.
The guest speakers were Captain Don Ricci of the Santa Rosa Fire Department and Nate Boyer, a US Army Special Forces (Airborne) veteran and NFL football player. Both gave inspirational talks about duty and patriotism As the evening progressed there was a dance demonstration by ballroom dancers Isamar Rios and Rafael Candelas of Arthur Murray Dance Studio, There were two great door prizes (“50 & “40 big screen TVs) for ticket holders and a silent auction with some wonderful items donated to help raise money for the event. The sale of raffle tickets was brisk and gave everyone a chance to participate in the night’s fundraising activities. A great time was had by all and the money raised was going to a great cause.
Donations from the Dinner Dance go to support many services in the veteran community such as transportation for disabled veterans, benefit counseling, legal representation to help veterans with their benefit claims, personal assistance programs, peer support counseling, advocating for veterans in need, and eliminating homelessness. Without events like this it would be difficult to provide support for these services.
A big note of gratitude goes out to the sponsors of this event, especially Soroptimist International and West Coast Diesels who made large charitable donations. There were many other businesses and individual sponsors who contributed to making this event possible. We thank them all. Special thanks must also go out the volunteers who help make this whole thing go. Countless hours of dedicated work helped bring this whole thing together. After the success of this event, I think we will be doing it again next year; September 10, 2016. See you there.