Lynchburg based organization hosts Thanksgiving dinner for veterans

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDB7)-- In Lynchburg, the Elks Lodge hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for veterans. More than 50 people enjoyed a meal while remembering those who have served our country.

A line of people formed in the Lynchburg Elks Lodge, holding out plates for some Thanksgiving favorites.

“Would you like some cranberry sauce,” said one volunteer. “Yes ma’am.”

Thanksgiving dinner in a room full of strangers: the Andrews, the Alemans, the Hutchersons, but all share a special bond.

“Airforce from 85-90,” said Steve Aleman at a table with his family.

One table over was Patrick Andres and his wife, “In the Navy for four years…from 1991-1995.”

Jack Maxey ate his dinner while sporting a “Korea Veteran” baseball cap. “I can’t talk about it,” said Maxey.

Experiences that leave a mark and are difficult to understand. So for Thanksgiving, veteran families came together.

It was a turkey dinner with all of the fixings, but the veterans say what really mattered is the company they're sharing it with.

“We wanted to reach out to veterans who possibly didn't have family to spend Thanksgiving with or didn't have somewhere to go for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Tamera Hart, one of the lead organizers of the event.

Last year they served about 54 people. This year they cooked enough to serve 75. People broke bread and found a place to feel at home.

“If it weren't for them I'd be lost. Thank you, thank you,” said Maxey.

“Even though we don't need to know who in this room wouldn't have had a meal, they are getting a great meal today,” said Aleman.

It was a family affair to get that meal ready. Hart’s granddaughter, Leah, stuffed four turkeys to make sure there was enough for everyone.

“My hands are very cold after that, but I knew I was doing a very good deed,” she said.

“What do you hope these veterans walk away feeling,” WDBJ7 asked the organizers. “Appreciated, honored, needed,” Hart said.