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Tue, Nov. 30

VOC businesses help veteran’s hospital benefit continue

John Ehalt stands beside the tent in front of Clark’s. (Courtesy)

John Ehalt stands beside the tent in front of Clark’s. (Courtesy)

The Cornelius Veterans Hospital Benefit Drawing is a 17-year-old tradition started by John Cornelius. The Rotary Club of Sedona Village has taken over leadership, with the help of many local businesses to ensure this worthy project continues.

So far, the program has had a great season, with three successful drawing and one more planned for Veterans Day weekend.

Joining the effort over the Labor Day weekend, PJ’s Pub owner, John Ehalt, sponsored all three days. Ehalt, a veteran of the Vietnam war, has been a part of the drawing almost since its creation. Until the COVID-19 shutdown, Ehalt would put up a tent in front of PJ’s and raised thousands there.

Ehalt chatted about his service experience aboard a submarine in the Tonkin Gulf. He spent six years in a Navy “pig boat” – so called because it was made of pig iron. The sub was used for insertion/extraction of Special Services personnel to/from hostile territory during clandestine operations because it could lurk underwater unseen.

He talked about the sub’s sleeping quarters. He slept on one of the bunks in a five-level “rack.” The rack is similar to grocery store shelves in width and height. To roll over he needed to push up on the bunk above him.

Ehalt admired Cornelius for his ability to get great prizes through his various connections.

“He got a friend to donate a cruise,” Ehalt said.

Another friend donated season tickets to professional games, or a private suite to the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

Ehalt is supportive of the rotary club’s efforts with the drawing. He praised the energy of Phong Vu, the Rotarian spearheading the effort. Phong is working to attract more tourist visitors to the drawing sale tent with the goal of directing tourist traffic to the sponsoring businesses.

Anyone can support the Cornelius Veterans Hospital Benefit Drawing by visiting the Rotary Club’s website, just visit and buy tickets or click the donate button or visit the tent at Clark’s Market on Nov. 11-13.

For more information about the club visit

Information provided by the Rotary Club of Sedona Village.

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