Restaurants to raise money for local veterans on Tuesday |

Restaurants to raise money for local veterans on Tuesday

Staff report

The Western Slope Veteran’s Coalition announced that more than 40 restaurants from Aspen to Glenwood Springs and from Eagle to Rifle will be participating in the Dining Out For Veterans fundraiser Tuesday.

Participating restaurants on the Western Slope will dedicate 10 to 20 percent of their proceeds Tuesday to the Western Slope Veteran’s Coalition’s Veterans Emergency Fund. One hundred percent of the money raised during the Dining Out For Vets event will go to emergency requests from veterans in need on the Western Slope in Colorado.

In addition, diners can attend a VIP three-course dinner at L’Hostaria restaurant in downtown Aspen for $125 per person ($75 tax deductible). This VIP dinner will include a short program on the Coaltion, a chance to meet with staff and clients and numerous drawings for area gift certificates.

“It’s a nice, friendly way to support the vets,” said Charlie Hopton, a Korean War Veteran and successful entrepreneur who lives in Aspen and is a major donor to the Emergency Fund. “Everybody has to eat, so this is a great way to support both the vets and local restaurants during the offseason.”

The Western Slope Veteran’s Coalition, based in both Grand Junction and Carbondale, is building an Emergency Fund to assist Veterans and their families living in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys with housing, utilities, food, mental-health counseling, transportation and employment support. Veterans in need of emergency funding can turn to the Emergency Fund for help by filling out a simple application that is quickly evaluated by a committee comprised of veterans and other community volunteers on the Western Slope.

In just its first six weeks of operation, the Coalition’s Emergency Fund has helped six veterans with everything from housing to work equipment, such as steel-toed shoes that help veterans keep their jobs. Each Emergency Fund request is approved by a community committee that looks at other resources accessed, the availability of public or private resources and the willingness of the veteran to work toward self-sufficiency.

“I’m thrilled and scared to death of the success of the Emergency Fund,” said Annie Davies, Rocky Mountain Human Services director of communications and development. “I want every veteran in need to access this fund and, at the same time, we have expended approximately 40 percent of our funds in six weeks. The Dining Out for Vets event is crucial to raise awareness of the need and to ask the community to support its veterans so that we can continue to provide basic necessities for veterans in the area. This event is a great first step, and we couldn’t be more thankful to the individuals, businesses and restaurants on the Western Slope for their contributions.”

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