Chili Cook-off benefits completion of Veterans Memorial

Brandon Houser and Jason Conway flank a wreath in memory of those lost in the 9/11 attacks. (Nicole Bullard)

Brandon Houser and Jason Conway flank a wreath in memory of those lost in the 9/11 attacks. (Nicole Bullard)

Nicole Bullard

For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Saddleback College held a commemoration ceremony at the college’s Veterans Memorial on Thursday, Sept. 8,  to honor the victims and those who died in action.

Saddleback president Tod Burnett and Joseph Hassine, president of the Associated Student Government, provided the opening remarks and emergency medical technician Ruth Grubb led a moment of silence. Marine Corps veteran and student Elizabeth Zepe spoke and Chase Chandler performed Taps.

The commemoration ceremony also honored first responders such as the firemen and police officers.

“Ten years ago our country was forever changed,” Burnett said. “Our commemoration ceremony will give us time to reflect on the heroism of America’s first responders and the commitment of the American people.”

After the commemoration ceremony, the Chili Bowl Cook-Off was held in the Fine Arts Quad. The proceeds from the tickets and silent auction will go towards the completion of the Veteran’s Memorial.

The Veterans Club had a booth and were competing in the Cook-Off.

“This chili is actually my grandmother’s recipe,” said Kolin William, the Veterans Club adviser who was giving out chili to passerby. “It’s really good.”

The Veterans Club works as an advocate forveterans at Saddleback and more. The purpose is to offer a community of individuals with the same experiences while attending classes to further educational experiences.

“The reason I went into the military after high school was because of 9/11,” said David Lehtinen, who was a conventional mechanics on submarines for the U.S. Navy. “I felt like I had to do something. I’m proud of what I did.”

Another aspect of the Chili Bowl Cook-Off was the silent auction. Students in the ceramics classes had made the bowls for the chili, and participants in voting for the chili got to keep one. The club donated approximately $1,000 from sales proceeds towards the fund for the Veteran’s Memorial.

The Chili Bowl Cook-Off was to remember the brave Americans on 9/11 and the veterans who dedicated themselves to this country. The Veterans Memorial will always be a monument to the 9/11 victims and veterans at Saddleback.


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