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For James Hicks, chaplain for American Legion Post 17, events like the Thanksgiving dinner for veterans, are very important.
“First of all, it brings us all together,” Hicks said. “And it is a good thing for the veterans to come together. I am just glad that we can sponsor something like this for all the veterans.”
Hicks was one of about 50 veterans who sat down to the meal at the post on New Bern Street Thursday.
Hicks served and was honorably discharged during the Vietnam War era.
“I didn’t go to Vietnam, but I served during that era,” Hicks said. “I was in the United States Army from 1961 to 1964. I was a weapons specialist. That was what I went to school for, weapons.”
Henry Lindsey of Wilson is post commander.
“We always try to do a little something for the community,” Lindsey said. “This event here is reaching out to the Vietnam veteran. The Vietnam veteran was the one that got lost, and we try to reach out to those that aren’t going to have Thanksgiving meal. All they’ve got to do is come eat. That’s what it’s all about.
“We want to look out for our fellow veteran,” Lindsey said. “Normally during Thanksgiving, we put baskets together to give to the elderly people in the community. This is the first time we did this, and we hope it will help somebody.”
Women from the post’s auxiliary helped put on the traditional turkey Thanksgiving meal.
Geraldine Robinson, first vice president of the unit, said the event was nice.
“We used to do it on Nov. 11, but not many people came out,” Robinson said.
Robinson, who is the widow of a Marine, always volunteers for events like this.
“I was thinking of the veterans,” Robinson said. “I had a brother that got killed in Vietnam, so I really love to do for them. It’s what I like to do.”
Bob Smith, a member of the post and an Army veteran, said it is about trying to help the American Legion with its effort to reach out and help the veterans in the community.
“It’s community outreach and also to show some humanity and love for our neighbors and love for our community,” Smith said. “I have to be a part of organizations like the American Legion that will be a conduit for me to do that in. I am also a disabled vet. Any organization that does well and stands for God and country and community is very important for me.”
James Faison of Wilson, a member of the post who is also the chaplain of the First Division of the American Legion, delivered the prayer for the event.
“It is about honoring those that have served,” Faison said. “So many times, they are forgotten, but we want them to know that we care. They are our comrades. We want to continue to serve and support this community as well as our veterans.”
Faison said it is the post’s way of giving thanks.
“We are thankful for what we have, and we are thankful that we have something that we can share with others,” Faison said. “It is just a blessing to be able to do this and to see these men and women come together and communicate and associate with each other. There are the same people who were out earlier serving and protecting our country, and we are just honoring them with a Thanksgiving meal letting them know that we are so thankful that they came around and are being a part of this nation and part of what this great nation is about. These are the people that allow us to be what we are today.”