It might have been cold and rainy Tuesday but Harlem residents were busy spreading warm holiday wishes to Fort Gordon soldiers in the form of a homemade Thanksgiving feast.
“It’s fantastic,” said Pvt. Dominique Goodwin after enjoying a home-cooked meal with more than 150 of his fellow Fort Gordon soldiers at Harlem High School.
The 11th annual Military Thanksgiving, put on by Columbia County Community Connections, is a way to thank soldiers for their service and give them, especially young ones, a “taste of home” during the holiday season, said organizer Kari Poss. The community comes together to create the meal for the soldiers.
“It does (mean a lot). A lot of them are missing families,” said Staff Sgt. Angela Arellano, adding that missing family holidays gets easier, but the first is always the worst. “We remember the first time that we missed a holiday. They get homesick. They are grateful. They are happy to be here.”
The group of soldiers, who volunteered to come serve at a Thanksgiving meal, were instead treated to a full spread of Thanksgiving foods including a huge variety of desserts.
They just relaxed, talked and enjoyed some down time “when they don’t have to worry about a thing,” Poss said.
Most agreed that the time off was nice, but the home-cooked meal hit the spot.
Pvt. Nam Le, 18, said Thanksgiving is his first away from his family in Colorado, but the meal sure did help put him in the Thanksgiving mood.
“It does kind of suck that I know I won’t be there,” Le said. “I know they’re happy that I’m doing what I’m doing.”