By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Brian Martin of VFW Post 1136 kept his first place chili title and added a people’s choice award Feb. 26 during the city’s second annual chili cookoff.
Second place went to Mike Sampson of Post 1136, with third place awarded to Gidget Hunt of the Polish League of American Veterans Post 74.
Participating groups included American Legion 217 Auxiliary Unit, American Legion Post 447, Fraternal Order of Police 111, the Knights of Columbus Wyandotte Council, the Polish League of American Veterans 7, the Polish Roman Catholic Union Society 162, VFW Post 1136 and the Wyandotte Boat Club.
Each group held its own competition in the fall or winter and sent their top two contestants to the citywide cookoff.
Attendees paid a $5 spoon fee for chili sampling, with gift baskets and raffles available for more fun and fundraising.
Martin said the Wyandotte non-profits have formed a 501(c)(3) called “Wyandotte Working Together” to disburse the fundraising proceeds from events like the chili cookoff.
He said five judges adjudicated the chili, including the police chief, fire chief and mayor.
Councilmember Kelly Stec said the chili she’d sampled was consistently delicious.
“Anything that makes it to the citywide is the top-of-the-top,” she said. “So, everything is great, the smell in here is wonderful, and I’m just happy to see so many people turning out.”
Stec said that after she was elected to the City Council, she noticed that the city has a lot of strong groups doing great things, but felt they could do more if they worked together on some projects.
“It’s been really great to see the clubs come together and want to work together on a project like this, where all of the funding goes back to projects that are directly serving Wyandotte residents,” she said. “Some of our middle school clubs are out and they’ve got volunteers helping today, and we are hoping to give them a grant as well.”
Stec said that last year they donated money to the World War II Memorial restoration, Wyandotte Youth Rowing, the Wainwright Soup Kitchen, the Jaycees’ holiday assistance and the Wyandotte Goodfellows.
“So, all projects focus here in the city that have a direct impact on residents,” she said. “We are just hopeful we will be able to have some more grants to give out this year.”
City Councilmember Rose Shuryan, who was serving chili, said it’s for a great cause, and everyone likes chili.
“I was just really excited that we were able to do this again this year,” she said. “It’s a great thing for the community, so I am really excited about that, and it is so wonderful to see all of the non-profits working together.”