Turkey dinner served for disabled veterans

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Alexander Blizzard, a member of chapter five of the Disabled American Veterans, carves one of six turkeys used to feed those in need this Thanksgiving.

For most people, 24 hours of holiday cooking is taxing enough, but Clarence Lee began his cooking Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

He started with a turkey, then moved on to preparing the hams, the meat to season the collard greens and more.

The cooking didn’t stop until 10 p.m. Tuesday night, and that didn’t even bring him close to being done with his holiday cooking.

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His Tuesday turkey was one of six the Disabled American Veterans chapter 5 served to disabled veterans and community members in need on Wednesday.

“Our main purpose is to serve disabled veterans who need the help, but we always offer a free meal to anyone in the community that needs it,” said Lee, the senior vice commander of the chapter.

The group offers a free lunch to disabled veterans and community members every other Wednesday, and the day before Thanksgiving is no different. While many businesses and organizations are already shut down for the holiday, that’s when DAV members buckle down and do some hard work.

“We all cook the food and bring it here to serve on Wednesday before Thanksgiving,” Lee said. “It takes a lot of work, sure, but it’s worth it. There’s a lot of people who say they wouldn’t have had Thanksgiving if it weren’t for our meal.”

This year the chapter served up six turkeys, five hams, potato salad, candied yams, collard greens, fruit, pies and cakes.

The chapter has served their regular hot meals for 15 to 20 years, and has been serving Thanksgiving dinner for at least the past six years.

There are usually 75 to 125 people in attendance at the lunch, Lee said. It takes at least a half-hour to dish out the first round of food.

In addition to the Thanksgiving meal they’re serving, the chapter purchased and gave out about 90 turkeys to veterans and community members.

“It’s a good feeling to give back to the community,” Lee said. “It gives a feeling of self worth to know that we’re helping give people a warm meal on the holidays. God has blessed many of us through several wars, and we want to give back to those who were less fortunate in life.”

After all was said and done Wednesday, Lee headed home to start cooking his own family’s Thanksgiving meal.