North Augusta community holds meal for service members

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 9:47 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Many of us spent the holidays with friends and family, but for our men and women in the military, going home for the holidays isn’t always an option.

Food, fellowship, laughter, and joy filled the American Legion Post 71 as more than 90 soldiers gathered for a Christmas meal.

Those defending our country say they experienced the true meaning of Christmas Thursday night.

“In 18 and a half years, I have missed a lot of Christmases, a lot of new year’s, a lot of birthdays. I’ve missed a lot of holidays in general. A lot of us in the military; we have learned to have holidays on the not holidays,” said First Sergeant Karyl Holliday.

Holliday says he experienced the true meaning of Christmas.

“This was Christmas. This is what Christmas is about. It’s not necessarily a Christmas tree or not necessarily the opportunity to be at home. It’s the opportunity to be able to take care of those around you, feed off of those around you and turn the room into your family,” he said.

Ninety soldiers gathered together for a meal by the North Augusta community.

Lisa Roach is the commandant of the Marine Corps League Riverfront Marines. She said, “This is a collaborative effort of American Legion Post 71, there are four churches involved here, and there are civilians of the streets that are saying ‘I want to be a part of that’.”

Roach says this is the first year they’ve held this event and when the idea was born, she was blown away by the support.

“I had carts and carts of piled-up food items. People would ask, ‘are you having a party?’ I would say, ‘yes, we are taking care of the Fort Gordon soldiers that didn’t get an opportunity to go home.’ They quickly reached into their pockets and said, ‘I would like to help’,” said Roach.

Holliday says events like this make a difference.

“I can tell you that not everybody comes from a warm, loving family and feels that embrace. Seeing how a community responds to the U.S. Army or to service members in general, it’s so warming, it’s such a blessing,” he said.

Leaving him with the best Christmas he can remember in a long time.

“When I go to sleep tonight, I will have the biggest smile on my face because this is probably one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a long time,” said Holliday.

The community prepared so much food that organizers were able to take heaping portions of leftovers to the Salvation Army in Aiken to help feed the homeless.