Five military veterans tasted steaming bowls of chili to choose the best during the Austintown Band Parents' second annual Veterans Chili Cook-off on Sunday, Nov. 10. Judges Ben Lynch of Boardman, representing the Marines; Kevin Brown, of Boardman, representing the Navy; and in back, Carl Cramer of Austintown, representing the Coast Guard; Sam Swoger III of Austintown, representing the Army; and Jan Brown of Boardman, representing the Air Force crowned the Class of '62 Memorial Committee as the winners. The team also earned the People's Choice Award and the Patriotism Award. Second place went to Matthew Scannell of Austintown, and third place went to Andy Yantes of Austintown.
Brad Gessner of Austintown, was the chairman of the chili cook-off and is one of the vice presidents for the Austintown Band Parents. He said the event was started last year because,
"with the band's patriotic history it just made sense to give back to the veterans."
Photos by Melissa Moliterno, Town Crier correspondent
Margaret Teutch, Kay Wertman, Krissy Vair and Claudia O’Neil members of the Fitch class of 1962 Memorial Committee pose at the Austintown Band Parents second annual Veterans Chili Cook-off. Besides taking part in the cook-off, the committee also helped organize the building of the Veterans Memorial that is on the school's property.
After the chili tasting, kids in grades six to 12 put on a special band concert to honor the veterans, who attended for free.
This year at the band concert, Judge Scott Krichbaum narrated the speech, "Duty, Honor, Country" that was given by Gen. Douglas MacArthur on May 12, 1962 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to the corps of cadets.
Ryan Cochran, a Fitch High School senior said, "I like trying all the chilis. It's fun and there is a good crowd to honor the veterans."