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Charity Fundraisers Local News

Delicious Beans, Chicken and Ribs Raise Funds for Fraternal Order of Canyon Men

Lorie Carter Smith took first place for the beans she cooked up at Mountain Breeze Campground on Saturday.

They don’t name names, they don’t like to embarrass anyone, but when the Fraternal Order of Canyon Men (FOCM) hears about someone in the community who needs help, they’re ready to support them.

By raising money through all kinds of fundraisers, FOCM provides scholarships and pays electric bills, water bills, and grocery bills — anything but doctor’s bills — for those in need in Canyon Lake.

FOCM’s goals are helping the Canyon Lake community and providing scholarships to Canyon Lake High School graduates.

Last weekend they sponsored their annual Fall Cook-Off barbecue of ribs, chicken, and beans at New Braunfels’ Mountain Breeze Campground, easily raising enough money to send a Canyon Lake High School student to trade school.

“A kid that normally wouldn’t get a chance to go to school, these are the kids we look for,” said Eric Nevenhoven, vice president of FOCM, which has several hundred members but runs largely through the efforts of a core group of fewer than 10 residents.

The group got its start in 1993 when a friend whose wife was dying of cancer asked for financial assistance.

“It took off from there,” Nevenhoven said.

FOCM sponsored its first cook-off to raise money for the man’s family.

Since then the organization has raised several hundred thousand dollars, allowing it to award 150, $500 scholarships to Canyon Lake-area students.

The men also build ramps and raise funds for veterans who need help with their homes.

Members of the core group include Perry Connell, a commander at Sattler VFW 8573, Michael Beatty (another veteran), Don Stephens, and Cesar Cueva.

Paul Rich, who runs Mountain Breeze Campground, throws in a hefty discount to use his facilities.

“He supports us in everything that we do out there,” Nevenhoven said. “He’s very, very good to use, as is Post 8573.”

Overall, Nevenhoven said FOCM enjoys an informal approach to fundraising.

This weekend, for example, those who showed up to judge barbecue prepared by 10 teams on Friday and Saturday got to enjoy free beer.

Winners earned free passes to drive across Canyon Dam at the Fourth Annual Dam Fine Car Show and Sunday Drive on Sunday, another fundraiser supporting the Canyon Lake community and area parks.

A raffle for a flat-top griddle donated by the Weidner family brought in over $600.

“That really helped us out a lot,” Nevenhoven said. “We raised enough money to fund one scholarship in their name.”

Also lending a hand was Debbie England, administrator of the popular Canyon Lake Facebook page Everything Canyon Lake, TX. She covered half of the expense of a DJ for the cook-off.

“That’s the kind of thing that we get,” he said. “If you want to see change, you’re the person that has to do it.”

Winners of this weekend’s Fall Cook-off include Lorie Carter Smith, who placed first in the beans category; “Big D” who captured third-place for ribs, first-place for chicken and won ‘Chef’s Choice’; and ‘Cowboy Up’ with first-place for ribs, third place for chicken and best in showmanship.

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