Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 3:37 pm | Fair 76º


Santa Barbara Community Unites for Salute to the Vets

Two visitors explore some of the old military equipment on display at the fourth annual Salute to the Vets event Saturday at the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum. Click to view larger
Two visitors explore some of the old military equipment on display at the fourth annual Salute to the Vets event Saturday at the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum. (Henry Schulte photo)

On Saturday, the Santa Barbara Veterans Foundation and War Torn held the fourth annual Salute to the Vets event at the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum.

With more than 1,000 people in attendance, it was an enormous success.

Like last year, the City Fire Department brought in its hook and ladder, outfitted with a large American flag that was slowly extended as Marika Millner, a graduate of Santa Barbara High, sang the national anthem. It was an emotional moment, and hundreds of people stood either saluting or held their hands over their hearts. It also was a proud moment for all of the veterans in the audience, and there were a lot of them.

The afternoon entertainment started off with the Dusty Jugz/Rincons, who mixed it up between country and oldies. Retired Santa Barbara police officer David Gonzalez, who sang "America the Beautiful," and Angus Cooke, who performed the national anthem on a cello that was absolutely mesmerizing, provided more entertainment. Doug C and the Blacklisted rounded out the afternoon.

At the Kids Korner, there was a jump house along with arts and crafts and face painting.

The Organic Soup Kitchen provided an excellent lunch of chicken, pulled pork, ribs, tri-tip, potatoes, corn and more. Many local businesses sponsored the event, including the Chumash, Bunnin Chevrolet, Santa Barbara Nissan, Santa Barbara Airbus, Boone Graphics, Toyota of Santa Barbara, Mission Tattoo, the Ramada of Santa Barbara and Noozhawk. Others, including Firestone Winery, M-Special Brewery, Fess Parker Winery, Andrew Murray Vineyards, Santa Barbara Winery, LaFond Winery, Figueroa Mountain Brewery and Fatty’s Brewery, donated beer and wine while many other businesses such as the Santa Barbara Zoo with two family packages, Airtrix, Cody’s, Seven, The Rose Café Andersons Bakery and Restaurant, Message Envy and more donated dozens of raffle prizes. It’s the community coming together like this that makes it all possible and successful. The Santa Barbara Veterans Foundation can’t thank its sponsors and supporters enough for their gracious help.

A soldier provides a photo op for a young attendee.
A soldier provides a photo op for a young attendee. (Henry Schulte photo)

This year, the event coincided with the Veterans Parade that ended at the Carriage Museum. This brought all the old military equipment to the event, including a Huey helicopter. It was also great timing to watch the amazing flyovers and the paratroopers.

Lucky Red, Athena Henson of Mission Tattoo and Miss Lady Legs of Jenny Newton Designs once again held their pin-up contest where the lovely ladies paraded the event all afternoon garnering votes, and the final eight were asked questions before the crowd before the winner was announced.

Along with all the other entertainment, there were also nearly 30 community-oriented vendors for the visitors to meet and greet along with veteran groups handing out information of who they are and what they do. And this year a half-size mock-up of the Wings of Freedom, the sculpture that will be gracing the Santa Barbara Airport, stood proudly on the Carriage grounds.

The sole purpose of the event was to raise funds for local veterans and local veterans organizations, and that goal was achieved. It was achieved through the actions of those in attendance and those in the community who share the same commitment to help local soldiers and guardians of our freedom. To that end, the fourth annual Salute to the Vets was an enormous success, and plans are already underway for next year, for which there’s talk of possibly expanding the venue.

The Santa Barbara Veterans Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3. Click here for more information.

— Henry Schulte represents the Santa Barbara Veterans Foundation and War Torn.

Attendees watch the raising of an American flag. Click to view larger
Attendees watch the raising of an American flag. (Henry Schulte photo)

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