This historic limited edition, hand blown Chiefs decanter has never been opened by anyone. It commemorates the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl win. Fifty years after the Chiefs first Super Bowl win, they won again, and Robert McClelland has decided to donate this family heirloom to the Hold ‘Em for Heroes for their live auction. Photo courtesy of Robert McClelland


Kiesa Kay
Special to The Gardner News
American veterans serve this nation to protect our homeland, and when they come back home, they deserve to have a place to rest their heads and find their own inner peace.
“It’s a hard transition,” said veteran Robert McClelland.
On Feb. 22, at 1 pm, Gardner American Legion Post 19 will co-host “Hold ‘Em for Heroes,” a fundraiser for Veterans Community Project in Kansas City and the Battle Within, in Olathe. The event takes place at the Desoto VFW Post, 33725 West 84th Street in Desoto, because the event has been so successful that it has outgrown venues in Gardner and Olathe.
“We all had a blast last year,” McClelland said. “It’s good natured fun. When push comes to shove, we are all in this together.”
Jeremy Bull and Bobby Carver came up with the idea of, a Texas Hold ‘Em poker game at American Legion Post 19 in Gardner back in 2017, to celebrate Bull’s birthday. Each of the four years since then, the amount they have raised for veterans has doubled. Now all of American Legion District 2 will participate.
In 2018, Bull and the co-founder of Veterans Community Projects, Vincent Morales, realized that they had done two tours together with the 25th Infantry Division. They joined up with Justin Hoover, CEO of the Battle Within. Last year, they raised $34,000.
McClelland has donated a real treasure for the live auction, a 1969 Kansas City Chiefs decanter. His grandfather, veteran George Hicks, passed it on to his mother , Mary Ann Wright. It became a family heirloom, and they decided together to donate it, buoyed by the Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl win and their own commitment to helping veterans.
“I am only one of many veterans who want to pay it forward,” McClelland said. “There will be donations of all kinds, raffles, and a live auction at Hold ‘Em for Heroes.”
The event traditionally has drawn a lot of former service people and their families, with veterans from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines competing good naturedly to see who can raise the most for area veterans. It is open to everyone, and the money goes to a great cause.
“All the money actually goes to the Veterans Community Project and the Battle Within,” McClelland said. “It goes where it will do real good for people.”
The Battle Within offers a free five-day revenant journey to veterans and many additional services, at thebattlewithin.org. The Veterans Community Project provides a walk-in center for veterans with any discharge status, time in service, or any qualifier, for help with the Veterans Administration benefits, health referrals, and financial counseling. They also provide the VCP Village, a community of 80 elegant tiny homes in Kansas City, built by veterans for veterans. More information about their work can be found at holdem4heroes-kc.org.