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WATERLOO — The Black Hawk Veterans Affairs held its first chili cook-off to raise money for Honor Flights.

Fourteen groups brought in chili for the competition.

Kevin Dill, executive director of the Black Hawk County Veteran Affairs Commission, helped organize the event.

“Each organization paid an entry fee of $30, which goes to the Honor Flight,” Dill said.

Dill wants to create camaraderie between the service posts with the event through competition.

The 2018 Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs Chili Cook-Off is the first of its kind and took place Thursday at the Grout Museum.

The cook-off featured several local celebrity judges, including Pat Kinney, Grout content development specialist; Chris Schwartz, Black Hawk County supervisor; Ed McFarland from the Veteran UAW; and Glen Keith, retired Army Lt. Colonel who runs the ROTC program at East High School. Mayor Quentin Hart also arrived later to help judge the competition. 

The participating posts competed for first-, second- and third-place prizes as well as a People’s Choice Award.

“The individuals who come in tonight will get a ticket, they can sample the chili and put the ticket in the jar for their favorite one,” said Stacy Albus, Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs service officer.

The event was free to the public.

The Cedar Falls AMVET Riders, Cedar Falls Robert J Hibbs VFW Post 3896, Sons of the American Legion Post 138, Evansdale AMVETS Post 31, Disabled American Veterans or DAV, Cedar Falls AMVETS Post 49, La Porte City American Legion Post 207, Grout Museum, English River Outfitters, Damian Spratt, University of Northern Iowa Veterans and Hawkeye Community College Veterans participated.

Sides for the event were provided by Texas Road House and Famous Dave’s.

Honor Flights take World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans on trips to see Washington, D.C., memorials. The next flight is planned Oct. 23.

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