By Irene Hilsendager
On a beautiful day in late April, a mastermind group of patriotic individuals ( Dave and Jackie Richey and Dianna Waite of AMVETS (Dave and Dianna are veterans), Tatjana Janga of Primerica, Carolyn Barlow of Frost Mortgage, and Michelle Martin of Primerica (mother of active duty Air Force service member Nathan Martin & President of Northbay Alliance of Professional Women), all united to find a way to serve a group of formerly homeless veterans that now call the Palms Inn Community of Santa Rosa home.
The mission: supply every veteran tenant of Palms Inn with a crock pot, so that they would be able to create healthy meals, This meant 60 crock pots needed to be rounded up! An event called “The Crock pot Chili Contest and Car Show” took place to honor our veterans was held at the Petaluma Veteran’s Memorial Building and was a spectacular success April 30th. Jim Bennett of Catholic Charities, the liaison for the Palms Inn community, was receptive and supportive of the cause, and brought together an amazing team of individuals to help make the goal a reality. His team of positive, “get it done” individuals- Mathew, Rex, Kim, Jenny, Paul, Stuart, Kathy, Lanetta and Fleming worked tirelessly alongside the amazing Primerica team of Joe & Elisa Locke (winners of Silver medal for best chili), Evette Minor, Brenda Seminoff, Sharon Bricker-Ferris, Domin Tanchoco, Kassie Sager, Russell & Toni Munford, Monica Moura, Scott Murray, Aurea Tanchoco as well as Holly Jones of Veteran’s Resource Center, Rebecca Pierce of Gateway Mortgage, Dianna Waite-President of Women’s Council of Realtors, Ann Moreno of AVM Graphics, Steven McGough (car show coordinator/ member of Corvette Club) and Jay Mathews of Amvets to ensure the complete success of this event. Two car clubs sponsored the show: Cruisin’ North (President Steve Martin & Event Coordinator Gabby), as well as Corvette Club of Sonoma County (President Cliff Johnston). North Bay Industries (NBI) and Northbay Alliance of Professional Women (NAPW) were the top sponsors of the event. NBI also donated several American flags to the raffle, while the NAPW offered glitter tattoos for $5 and donated all proceeds to Catholic Charities to benefit Palms Inn Community.
The event collected 105 crock pots and raised over $2,000 in donations for benefiting the Palms Inn Community. “It’s a blessing to be there for so many that have been there for us!” was the sentiment felt by many at the event. Assemblyman Bill Dodd also attended that day, and stated that he enjoyed being at an event that was focused on serving veterans- he also enjoyed the music.
Loren Winzeler of Frost Mortgage, with the help and inspiration of Carolyn Barlow, rounded up 14 crock pots and donated them to the event! Vet Connect’s, David Kistenmacher brought an astonishing nine crock pots full of different chili varieties, and took the Gold Medal for Best Chili! Several Rotarians of the Rohnert Park -Cotati Rotary club made the event a success, including Paula Reinhold, Darren Patterson (chili contestant and server), Mickie Jones (donated the sound system for the event), Art Ferris (ran the outstanding music program) and Peggy Wyman, who rounded up several crock pots and donated them to the Palms residents. So many local sponsors and donors contributed to the success of this event.