Don Benjamin never thought he would start a charity effort during his retirement, or ever for that matter.

But this next month, Benjamin will bring three of his passions together for the second time in Ahwatukee Foothills: Cigars, cars, and supporting troops.

Benjamin started the Cigars for Soldiers fundraiser earlier this year, with the first event in March.

Cigars for Soldiers works directly with Tinder Box Ahwatukee to send troops boxes of cigars. For the first fundraiser, a variety of cigars were sent to soldiers in Kabul, Afghanistan. This year, Benjamin wants to include smaller parcels for other bases around the world.

Though the event is free to the public, raffle tickets are sold for prizes.

“Last time we raised enough money for $2,000 worth of cigars,” said Benjamin, who lives in Ahwatukee.

As a cigar lover and customer of Tinder Box Ahwatukee for about 13 years, Benjamin said cigars are social.

“(Smoking) cigars is a relaxing thing to do, and you usually do it with someone else.”

After sending his first shipment out this past spring, Benjamin got a letter from one soldier, thanking him for the gift.

According to Benjamin, the soldier wrote that the cigars were the “next best thing to seeing a therapist.”

It’s an unwinding thing for them and they are able to step away from everything they do while in the military, Benjamin said.

“We want to remind them of home,” he added.

The car show, featuring motorcycles, muscle, military and show cars, will also provide live music from local band, Surf Guitar Villains.

The fundraiser will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 and will be followed by free drinks and food until 8 p.m.

For more information, call Benjamin at (602) 290-9192 or email


Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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