US submarine veterans cooked up a massive Thanksgiving meal Thursday to share with the community.
They’ve been hosting the dinner for nearly two decades to ensure everyone on the Naval Submarine Base and nearby can celebrate the holiday properly.
Veterans cooked up 180 turkeys for the annual tradition, which guarantees that sailors and the rest of the community can have a meal cooked with love on Thanksgiving.
“We give them a place to feel like home,” said retired US Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Jeff Walsh.
They work to ensure no sailor has to go without a hot meal.
“Some of these young sailors, it’s their first time away from home,” Walsh added. “We give them a place to feel like home.”
All day service members and others from the community made their way in to grab a bite, have a drink and watch the game surrounded by love, enjoying a home-cooked meal. The endeavor required 700 pounds of potatoes, 200 pounds of butternut squash, 12 cases of green beans and 12 cases of cranberry sauce.
For Navy men and women who know what it’s like to answer the call of service away from home, the chance to sit at this kind of holiday table is a special one.
“We remember what it was like when we were young sailors. I remember being in Great Lakes, Ill. for my first Thanksgiving in the Navy… it was terrible. We sat in the galley and ate bad food,” said Navy veteran Kevin Crisman.
The group also delivers food to those who can’t make it to them. They serve a total of around 900 meals.
“The submarine force is a huge family. It’s been our family away from home,” said Justin Liedel, Assistant Engineer, USS San Juan.
The generosity doesn’t end with the meal. Any food leftover from the event is donated to other charitable organizations so that the spirit of Thanksgiving can stretch even further.