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More than 150 vets engaged at this ‘extravaganza’ designed to help our heroes — PHOTOS

Updated March 9, 2023 - 11:09 am

Veterans of Pahrump Valley learned about the resources and services available locally to them at the 6th Annual Cles Saunders Memorial Veterans Extravaganza. It brought together dozens of organizations and entities for four hours of education, information and conversation.

Taking place Friday, March 3 at the Bob Ruud Community Center, the Veterans Extravaganza was a big hit with the community and event organizers were obviously delighted with the results of this year’s resource fair.

“The event was a great success thanks to the team, the community and the supporters,” event committee member Dr. Tom Waters enthused, with fellow committee member JoAnn Newcomb raving, “Best turnout ever!”

There were 39 vendors in total spread through the community center, all ready to speak with veterans about how their organization can best help them. An estimated 156 veterans made their way to the extravaganza, with an additional 39 non-veteran family members attending as well.

The Veterans Extravaganza was renamed in 2021 in honor of one of its biggest proponents, the late Cles Saunders, who passed away that year. Everyone on the committee agreed that though Saunders was unable to be at the extravaganza in person, he was undoubtedly there in spirit.

“Cles would have loved the event because it helped veterans and that was always his, and our, goal,” Waters remarked.

“Team Extravaganza has a fabulous working group coupled with enthusiasm and selfless service to the community and veterans,” committee member Alice Lubbers added. “Everyone willing to help and dive in where needed, a group all should be proud of. These are the true core values Cles Saunders emulated during his life. We are all trying to meet these ideals and I’m sure our friend and brother Cles is happy.”

Each year, there are many who contribute to the continued success of the Veterans Extravaganza and kudos for all who assisted were doled out by the committee.

“Many thanks to Robin and the Pahrump Valley Times crew for all of the assistance in advertising the event. The PVT exceeded all expectations and we are truly grateful for your efforts,” Lubbers said, with Newcomb adding, “Aside from those who helped get the word out for our new veterans in our community, a special thank you needs to go to our DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Unit 15 Auxiliary members and officers for all the time spent cooking, planning, running the errands, setting up and taking down. And a big thank you to Alice for staying on top of the advertising and for her incredible brownies too!”

Although March 2024 may seem far off now, it’s never too early to start preparing for the next big event. The Veterans Extravaganza team is already working toward making its next event another rousing success. The event handed out applications for next year’s resource fair during the event and five vendors had signed up as a result.

The 7th Annual Cles Saunders Memorial Veterans Extravaganza is set for Friday, March 1, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bob Ruud Community Center.

For more information on the 2024 event or to sign up as a vendor call Newcomb at 562-846-0664 or email joann0862@gmail.com to request a registration form.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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