The Anderson Veterans Walk of Honor was the recipient of a special $10,000 grant award from the Redding Rancheria Community Fund tonight during its “A Year to Remember” dinner at the Win-River Casino Event Center. The Walk of Honor was one of 49 organizations being recognized by the Rancheria for “philanthropic excellence” during 2010. The Rancheria Community Fund granted over $184,000 to those 49 organizations in 2010. The Walk of Honor group had earlier received a grant of $2,500 from the Rancheria community fund.
“It’s overwhelming. I can’t put it into words,” said James Yarbrough, director of the Veterans’ Walk of Honor organization. “The project is a way we can love and honor veterans in a very special way.”
Other organizations or projects funded during the 2010 cycle included Riverfront Playhouse ($13,000), People of Progress ($10,000), Trinity Alps Unified School District ($10,000), Acorn Community Enterprise ($10,000), the Youth Violence Prevention Council ($5,000), Haven Humane Society, Inc. ($5,000), the Shasta Family Justice Center ($2,500) and dozens more.
Since 2002, the Rancheria has allocated more than $1.7 million to a variety of area organizations and community projects. The Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc. received the special grant award in the first year of program in 2002. In 2009, Living Hope Compassion Ministry received the honor.
The Anderson Veterans’ Walk of Honor is being built between East Center and Freeman streets in Anderson and will include a metal trestle with veterans’ names, a giant American flag, and six-foot tall letters that spell out various wars the United States has been involved in.
The group is attempting to raise $175,000 for the Walk of Honor project. The Rancheria grant will move that total to $135,000, Yarbrough said.
“This pushes us closer,” Yarbrough said. “This (project) started a year ago. I had a dream about it, then I’d wake up. When I’d fall back asleep, I’d dream about it more, in more detail. I’ve never had a dream like it. I didn’t know it would become a reality.”
Tonight at Win-River, many of the sold-out audience dressed in costume from the decades of the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. The Redding-based Keyhole Mystery Theater group provided entertainment by singing songs dedicated to the award recipients and set to music from tunes like “Rock Around the Clock” and “I Will Survive.”
The group dressed as characters that included Gene Simmons (of KISS), Madonna, Andy Gibb, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan and more.
Members of the Rancheria’s tribal government, including Jason Hart and Gary Hayward, dressed as members of the Village People and lead the audience in a rendition of “YMCA.”
“This event gets more fun every year,” said Hayward, addressing the audience. “The membership of the (tribal) council has always felt that it’s very important to give back to this community.”
The Rancheria Community Fund grants are administered through the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, a non-profit grant administration organization that serves Shasta and Siskiyou counties.
The Redding Rancheria is a federally recognized American Indian tribe whose members are of the Pit River, Yana and Wintu descent. The Rancheria operates its tribal administration offices, Win-River Casino, a Head Start program, a health clinic, Win-River Mini-Mart, and the Hilton Garden Inn.
Tonight, the Events Center at Win-River Casino included a stage colorfully adorned with iconic cutout images from decades past, including the Beatles (walking across Abbey Road), Marlon Brando from “The Godfather” and many more. Tables for the $50-a-plate affair included centerpieces with lava lamps.
After the Anderson Veterans Walk of Honor was named to received the extra $10,000 award, the audience responded with a loud cheer, while many stood and applauded.
Veterans alive or dead from the region and beyond may have their names placed on the Walk of Honor. Yarbrough said it costs $100 to have a veteran’s name placed in the walk.
“There needs to be a place where families can come and have solace, meditate and just show respect for our veterans,” Yarbrough said.
Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Photographs by Michael Burke. Click here to see more of Mike’s work.
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