SIERRA VISTA — It’s called the Veterans Day Fun Fest, but its purpose is a lot more weighty than its moniker.
The Fun Fest, an all-day affair at Veterans Memorial Park on Fry Boulevard, is held to help veterans in need, said Glenn Hohman of the VFW Post 9972 in Sierra Vista. Saturday’s event was the third annual Fun Fest.
Hohman said money garnered from the fee vendors paid to display their wares at the festival goes to veterans in the community who are struggling. He said he expected a crowd of about 500 people for the 12-hour event that went from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Our goal is to collect about $2,500, “Hohman said. “The money is for the relief fund. There are a lot of veterans who are living paycheck to paycheck. If they need money for the light bill, or anything else, we help them.”
Hohman said about $10,000 is spent from the Relief Fund annually to help veterans in need.
“November is the month that the VFW tries to raise funds for our vets,” he said.
The festival included live music, food, vendors and entertainment for children.
There was also a small award ceremony that highlighted one of the oldest veterans in the area, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Jerry Consiglio, who fought in the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge during WWII.
Consiglio was honored earlier this week at the annual Bring a Vet to Lunch sponsored by the Sierra Vista Area Chamber as the oldest veteran at the event.
The award Consiglio received Saturday from the VFW Post 9972, is a “rarity,” according to Post Commander Jeff Foley.
“It’s the 30-year award for membership in our post for 30 years,” Foley said. “That’s a rarity because of their (the soldiers’) age and our WWII guys are dying off.”
“I’ve been doing this service for six years and I’ve never given out one of these awards,” said Foley, who fought in the Korean War.
Consiglio became emotional when he accepted the honor.
“I want to thank everyone who is here,” Consiglio said. “My friends and even strangers. I’ve been choked up all week.”
His voice wavered and he sat down quickly next his wife Nancy.
Another veteran who was given an award was Tim Kirk, executive director of the Warrior Healing Center in Sierra Vista.
Hohman said the Turquoise Arrowhead Award was given to an individual who gives “outstanding service to the veterans in our area.”
Before the honors were handed out, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Saquawia Pennington belted out a moving rendition of the National Anthem.