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A fun night of poker to benefit homeless veterans

Numerous Castle Pines residents participated in a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament alongside members of the local Veterans of Foreign War Post 4266, in order to raise money for homeless veterans in Colorado.

By Amy Shanahan; photos courtesy of Pete Solano

Castle Pines resident Pete Solano joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 4266 in November of 2014, and he has already made an impact on the group.  Solano, a veteran who served nine years in the Marine Corps and two tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom, serves as the post adjutant and he and the other members of the post have a passion for helping homeless veterans in Colorado.  Solano and his post teamed up with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless veteran program in order to raise money to aid the approximately 750 homeless veterans currently residing in Colorado.

Last month, Solano organized a fundraising poker tournament in which he brought together members of our local community with members of VFW Post 4266.  Solano explained, “This was an effort to expand our fundraising efforts in ways that connect VFW members to their community in a very social and fun way.  We think these personal connections at events such as our poker tournament will establish more meaningful relationships in our community.”  Local resident Matt Martin played in the tournament and remarked, “It was a really good time, and we had two vets there.  It was nice to meet them and put a face to who we were helping out.” 

Castle Pines resident Pete Solano (left) and other members of his VFW Post 4266 have committed to raising money to support homeless veterans throughout Colorado.  In addition to raising money at a recent poker tournament, the group has raised funds throughout the year.  Here they are pictured making a $5,000 donation to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless veteran program.

The tournament took place in Castle Pines and included twenty players who each contributed $100 or more toward the cause.  Additional money was raised through a corporate sponsorship from Avtex Inc, courtesy of Castle Pines resident Mike Kasal.  Local companies Castle Pines Eye Care, Christy Sports Park Meadows and Danielle’s Restaurant pitched in prizes, and Solano’s good friend Steve Cooke provided pizza from his restaurant, the Garlic Knot.  All told, the evening generated nearly $4,000 which will be donated directly to combat homelessness among Colorado veterans.

Local resident Mark Schoenbeck played in the tournament and had a blast. “I’m a friend of Pete’s and my father was a veteran of WWII where he served as a Marine and participated in the first assault wave at Iwo Jima, so I wanted to support this good cause.  It was a lot of fun, we had a great turnout, and I thought it was a great success for Pete and the VFW.”  Another Castle Pines resident Tom Dunham took home the top prize that evening.

Solano and the other members of his post are already looking ahead to next year when they hope to make the tournament even bigger and better.  Solano remarked,  “It was a lot of fun!  To hear the evening unfold with a mix of cheers, groans and constant chatter and laughter made it especially rewarding for me.  The feedback was all positive and a few folks have already committed to the next event!”  To learn more about the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless veteran program, please visit



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