By Nina Rodgers SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)– Central New York non-progit organization Clear Path for Veterans hosted their annual “Homegrown Throwdown” Wednesday at the Sky Armory in Armory Square. With nearly 150 people in attendance, all proceeds from the event will benefit the organization and its mission of supporting veterans’ transition back into everyday life.
Twelve chefs competed over four rounds of the culinary competition, using locally grown ingredients. Participating chefs come from restaurants and businesses in the Syracuse area.
The competition featured Clear Path for Veterans very own executive chef and culinary director Adam Coleman. As a veteran, the event holds a special significance for Coleman.
“Getting together this many restaurants and people in the community to support one cause is always going to make a huge impact,” Coleman said.
Coleman was deployed to Iraq three times during his four years of service in the Marine Corps. After coming back from war, Coleman faced challenges in getting back to his normal self.
“After I got out, I had a real hard time adjusting,” Coleman explained. “It took me about a year through drugs and alcohol to kind of find my center. And that was through cooking.”
Coleman is one of nearly 1,000 veterans who Clear Path serves every month.
Founded in 2011, Clear Path has become a place many veterans can call home, Director of Development Terri Scanlin said.
Clear Path provides eight programs for veteran participation, including culinary, wellness, agriculture and recreation.
The center provides a free weekly lunch for veterans every Wednesday. The next free brunch for the public will be held at Clear Path on Dec. 20.