Veterans give back to the community on Thanksgiving

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PORTLAND, Mich. (WLNS) – Veterans in Portland are continuing the tradition of service by hosting a Thanksgiving lunch for the community.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post 4090 have been hosting this Thanksgiving meal for the community for 14 years. Last year’s event was canceled because of COVID-19 safety concerns but the doors were open again today.

“It’s become a tradition where we gather family and several friends that have become family also, so it’s become “so are we going to the VFW?” and of course we are,” said Portland resident, Margery Briggs.

Dozens came to the Portland VFW post to fill their plates for thanksgiving.

David Reed is the commander for the post and said he’s glad to see the community get together like this again.

“It’s just a great way to bring in those who don’t have much on Thanksgiving, or those having Thanksgiving on Saturday or Sunday, an opportunity to come out and they don’t have to cook,” Reed said.

Veterans like Joel VanSlambrouck said it’s in his blood to serve and give to his community.

“In the community, sometimes you don’t see the need so much but on days like today and throughout the year,” he said, “you can see the folks, the need and you want to be there for them and support them,” said the army veteran.

As rising COVID-19 cases become a concern around the holidays, this VFW group is taking precautions like offering take-home meals.

“Most of our veterans and seniors in our community here are vaxed. So, we feel good about our folks here because the majority are,” said VanSlambrouck

He said having a place for everyone to spend the holiday together drove the decision to come back in person.

“It gives us a chance to see a lot of our old friends and comrades that were in the service and catch up on times,” said John Fryover, a Vietnam war veteran.

The food that was served today was all donated from local grocery stores and volunteers.
organizers said they served more than 120 meals today.

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