Veterans Expeditions hosts its annual fundraiser Saturday at the Salida Community Center. From left are field director Nathan Perrault, board member Scott Partan and Executive Director Nick Watson.

Veterans Expeditions capped of its 10th year with one of its best fundraising efforts in the nonprofit organization’s history.

At the organization’s fundraiser Saturday at the Salida Community Center, it raised just over $10,000, Executive Director Nick Watson said. “We’re very happy with it,” he said.

Coupled with Giving Tuesday and other donations, Watson said, “We’ve already raised more money this year than we ever had before; we needed one of these years.”

The organization’s mission is to empower veterans to overcome challenges associated with military service through outdoor training and leadership.

Watson said the money raised Saturday will be used to fund the organization’s outdoor trips for veterans throughout the summer. “It will probably pay for the summer entirely,” he said.

Watson said they expect to take about 700 veterans on 50 trips in 2020.

“With the added money, there may be even more out,” Watson said.

While the organization has been busy raising funds in November and December, it will begin taking veterans on trips again in January. Snowshoeing, fat bike riding and ice climbing are the most popular winter trips, Watson said.

Once they start taking veterans out in January, they’ll continue to do so every weekend throughout the winter, spring, summer and until Veterans Day.

Those who attended the fundraiser Saturday got a meal, saw several short films, had the opportunity to participate in a silent auction and also socialize.

“The silent auction went really well,” Watson said. “There were good items and good deals and it was all profit for us.”

Watson thanked the event’s main sponsors, Soulcraft Brewing and Pure Greens, as well as other local sponsors for making the fundraiser successful, including Badfish SUP, Benson’s Tavern & Beer Garden, SubCulture Cyclery, Oveja Negra, Mike’s Garage and Salida Mountain Sports, He also thanked the community center for making the fundraiser affordable and national sponsors Yeti, Osprey packs and Stok Cold Brew Coffee.

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