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"Giving veterans this opportunity means everything.” Annual Tehachapi fundraiser supports Honor Flight

The winner of Red House BBQ's annual Super Bowl catering auction immediately decided to donate the money to a cause close to his heart.
Posted at 5:08 PM, Feb 15, 2024
  • Video shows Red House BBQ Super Bowl fundraiser winner Darren Owens sharing the emotional reason why he decided to donate to Honor Flight Kern County.
  • Tehachapi's Red House BBQ has auctioned off a catered Super Bowl meal for the past 13 years. The highest bidder wins the food and the opportunity to donate the funds raised to a local charity.
  • This year, around $400 was given to Honor Flight Kern County to help send Tehachapi veterans on Honor Flights.


An over-decade-long tradition of giving back to their community. Every year for the Super Bowl, Red House BBQ auctions off a catered meal for the big game. The highest bidder not only wins the food, but they have the chance to select which local charity to donate the money to. This year, the winner knew exactly where he wanted that to be.

“When we won the bid, the only charity that popped into my head was honor flight,” said Darren Owens.

Honor Flight is something that hits close to home for Darren Owens and his wife, Amanda.

He was the high bidder for Red House’s annual fundraiser. The bid was $420, and where that money should go was an emotional, but easy decision.

“Why honor flight? We have to start with my father, who we just lost in December of 2023…we lost him to Alzheimer’s and other complications,” Owens said. "One of the very last things that I got to do with him… when he was all there… was Honor Flight.”

Owens says Honor Flight was a life-changing experience for him and his father. Owens said this donation is special to honor not only his father's memory but his wife, Amanda's status as a Veteran as well.

Mano Lujan, owner of Red House BBQ, says for the past 13 years, the only rule of the fundraiser is that the money must be donated to a charity within Tehachapi.

"For Honor Flight, I’ll bend the rules,” Lujan said.

He says in order to keep the money hyper-local, the donation will directly support sending Tehachapi veterans on Honor Flights.

“The good thing about it is that, again, the money stays in our community," said Lujan. "It’s something very important that we try to keep our money in our town.”

A record number of people watched the big game this past Sunday between Kansas City and San Francisco, so the opportunity to cash in on that was something Lujan had his eyes on, and hopes other business owners do the same.

“We’re booming during Super Bowl weekend. So, I challenge other barbecue places–why aren’t you doing this?" said Lujan. "It’s not a hard thing to do, and it’s such a great thing to be able to give back to your community.”

Owens says he cherishes the memories made with his dad on the Honor Flight in October 2021.

“The veterans that I met at the airport when we left were completely different from the veterans we brought home," Owens said. "If this money can go toward another veteran being able to go on this trip and get the recognition they deserve, I'm all for it.”

Tehachapi will host its annual Honor Flight fundraiser on June 14th. Red House BBQ says it will provide food for purchase, and the event begins at 3 p.m. at Triassic Vineyards. All proceeds benefit Honor Flight.

More information about Honor Flight, their upcoming fundraisers and ways to donate can be found on their website or Facebook page.

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