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 Lee County Chili Challenge set for Feb. 3 in Fort Myers

Lee County Chili Challenge

 Annual event raises money for veterans’ and first responder organizations

The 5th Annual Lee County Chili Challenge, presented by Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz and Stu’s Motorcycles, will tickle the tastebuds from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Stu’s Motorcycles, 14607 Ben C. Pratt/Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers.

The Lee County Chili Challenge brings together fire, EMS, police and military chili teams to raise money and awareness for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Injured Warriors Fund of Florida and Collier-Lee Honor Flight.

Lee County Chili Challenge
Two-year champion Fort Myers Fire Department at the 2023 event

“Assemble your team, perfect your recipe, choose your accoutrements and get your taste buds ready,” said event founder and veteran Jason Dysarczyk. “While the competition is spicy, we know we have a great recipe to benefit and honor the men and women who have fought to protect and serve our nation.”

For a $10 donation, visitors get a chili tasting kit to sample various chilis. Tickets for over $20,000 in prize drawings, beverages and food are all available for a donation. Live music will be provided by the band Deep Cover.

Dysarczyk is a battalion chief with the South Trail Fire & Rescue Service District and served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Several years ago, he thought that Stu’s Motorcycles, which is in the jurisdiction of the district, would be a great place to have a chili challenge to benefit organizations that help first responders and veterans.

Beneficiaries of the event are:

  • Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Sillier, who died on Sept. 11, by providing mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children and by building custom smart homes for catastrophically injured veterans and first responders. (t2t.org)
  • The Injured Warriors Fund, which was created by the Marine Corps League Dept. of Florida to help warriors injured in combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and areas of terrorism. (mcldof.org/injured-warriors-fund-of-florida)
  • Collier-Lee Honor Flight transports veterans free of charge to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. (https://www.collierhonorflight.org)

Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz returns for a third year as a presenting sponsor.

“Our firm is proud to support veterans’ organizations,” said Christopher J. Smith, managing partner of the firm. “We also participate in bike nights and promote motorcycle safety. It’s been a privilege to be a part of helping this event grow at Stu’s Motorcycles.”

At last year’s event, $14,019 was raised for the organizations. Lee County Public Safety EMS unseated two-year chili champion Fort Myers Fire Department in the judged competition, and Sanibel Fire Rescue District won the People’s Choice vote.

For information, call 239-898-3627.

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