Military personnel got a taste of home in Harlem on Tuesday at the sixth annual Military Thanksgiving event.
Army Warrant Officer Ozan Lane said being away from family during the holidays is difficult. But the feast, put together by the city of Harlem, Harlem United Methodist Church and the community, made him feel a little closer to home.
"It really is one of the hardest things that we have to do," Ozan said. "We're all away from our families right now. And the reason we do what we do is because when we see what we see in these foreign countries and what the kids and the families have to go through, we don't want anybody in our country to have to go through that.
"If you see somebody in uniform and you just walk up to them and say, 'Thank you,' it means a lot. It really does. It reminds us what we're fighting for."
Ozan and about 300 other military personnel stationed at Fort Gordon enjoyed the full Thanksgiving feast, including turkey, dressing and dessert while enjoying music from the church Praise Band and Cherub Choir. Boy Scouts, teens and community member volunteered to cook, serve and visit with the service members.
"I hope sincerely that you feel blessed by congregation and community members who say, 'Thank you' and 'We love you,'" Pastor Tom Drake said.
The event was designed to thank members of the military for their service and provide a little piece of home for the those who can't be with their families on Thanksgiving.
PFC Christian Daugherty, 21, is lucky. She gets to head home to Florida for Thanksgiving. But Daugherty was one of the many soldiers who showed up at the church with the intention of serving, not being served.
"We had no idea we were going to be eating," Daugherty said. "We thought we were going to be serving. We were shocked, and really grateful."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.