I pledge allegiance…

Chris Smith / The Valley Chronicle
Some 300 attendees at the Willie Ryan Memorial Reverse Drawing Friday, April 5, sponsored by the Hemet San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce and held at the new Soboba Casino, were hard pressed to find an American flag inside the recently completed Event Center when it came time to say the Pledge of Allegiance. With a little bit of “valley ingenuity,” however, the group rallied around the only flag to be found – a tiny replica on the end of a wire stick. It was a humorous, yet touching moment of appreciation for our flag, country, and freedom-inspired way of life. The event raised thousands for the Chamber and awarded a $10,000 grand prize to five lucky individuals who split the winnings. The event commemorates Wilifred “Willie” Ryan, owner of the old Vosberg Hotel and past president of the Ramona Pageant and the Hemet Chamber, who conceived the reverse drawing in 1992. Ryan died in 2016 at the age of 94.

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