For the past 10 years the "North Coast Vettes" Corvette Club of Carlsbad, California has been hosting a car show called "Vettes for Veterans".
Relying on the volunteerism and charity of the club's members, the proceeds from the car show are donated to two veteran support charities - The Semper Fi and America Funds and Paralyzed Veterans of America - Cal Diego Chapter.
Hundreds of owners bring their cars to this "Corvettes Only" car show every year. Close friends will remember that in 2017 Nan's 56 won 1st place in the first generation category.
Back then we were supporters of the event. But two years ago we joined the club and are now more involved in the production of it. I want to tell you a little about the show and the winners.
Nan, Canon, and I have made contributions to the silent auctions with car repair tools and gift baskets. Canon, in particular, has secured some excellent wines for auction. This year I was asked to be the Chief Judge for the judging of the eight generations of Corvettes. We have enjoyed our participation to this worthy endeavor.
The turnout this year was excellent with 286 Corvettes registered. The two veteran charities provide the judges from their respective groups. Armed with clip boards and their list of cars to be judged, off they went into the massive parking lot, many in wheel chairs, to review the impressive cars that are entered each year. It was an honor for me to work closely with these folks whose service to our country has come at a personal price. At the bottom of this article you will find the list of "winners". But, in a sense, everyone who participates in this event is a winner -- a community of people who love their country, value their veterans, and adore Corvettes.
This year's event was very personal for me and Nan in three ways.
First, Nan and I donated a United States Marine Corps flag to be used at these events in honor my father, Cpl. Clinton E. Thomas, Jr. USMC 1942 - 1945. We want to thank Carm Finocchiaro, President of North Coast Vettes, for giving us the opportunity to purchase and donate the flag! We know that Dad would be proud.
Second, we were overjoyed to see our 50th Anniversary Corvette appear as an entered car! Bruce Eisenbise, who purchased "NYFTY 50" from us in October 2020, brought the car to the event. What a joy it was to visit with Bruce. The car is still as spotless as the day we sold it and Bruce is enjoying owning his first Corvette. We are happy that the car found such a great home.
Third, our club decided to feature our close friends, Bill and Marylyn Hatch, and their original one-owner 1957 Corvette as the signature car of the event. Bill has owned this car since purchasing it new from Bates Chevrolet in August 1957 -- an ownership spanning 65 years. Here is a shot of Bill and Marylyn with their daughter, Lisa, and her husband Dan at the show. Bill's car was a huge hit with scores of people stopping by to marvel at what is probably a World record ownership of a Corvette by its original owner.
In January our club was able to make a presentation to the charities with the proceeds of the car show.
I want to close by thanking the members of North Coast Vettes for welcoming Nan and me into your special group -- in a few short years you have become close and valued friends.
Cary & Nan January 2023
Vettes for Veterans - 2022 - Judging Winners