The tradition of an early free Thanksgiving dinner for seniors was continued this year at the Kenai Senior Center by Hilcorp’s employees who in less than 20 minutes served up over 200 turkey dinners with all the trimmings. “We just love interacting with the community this way and additionally we made up all the Meals on Wheels dinners for today so overall we served some 500 dinners today and we had a ball doing it,” said Hilcorp’s external affairs director Lori Nelson. According to Nelson some 24 employees volunteered their time to fill plates, serve the meal, pour coffee, serve pie and clean up, “The did it all and they did it with a smile and had a ball knowing that they are appreciated by the community where they live and work. We have a lot of oil and gas retirees here today many of whom use to serve this dinner back in their day, they are proud to be here and we’re proud to be serving them and what they have contributed to our quality of life on the Peninsula,” said Nelson.
Then on Thanksgiving Thursday there were several complimentary turkey dinners offered across the Peninsula from Nikiski to Kasilof and in Kenai the traditional Salvation Army free dinner served nearly 200 meals, “It was one of our biggest dinners in several years, many new folks made up the 155 who joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and fellowship. We sent another 35 meals home with folks for shut-ins and other family members so over all it was more than 187 meals this year. The Kenai Rotary Club provided the food that included 20 turkeys and the fixings; the Soldotna Rotary Club and some 30 volunteers under the direction of David Wartinbee were here early Thanksgiving morning as they are each year and cooked the birds, mashed the potatoes and sliced the veggies and got everything ready to serve. The day before the Cook Inlet Academy kids came in to decorate for the occasion and we really appreciate all the volunteers,” said Salvation Army envoy Craig Fanning. In Soldotna former Soldotna Mayor Tom Bearup and his wife Adele invited any single veterans to share their Thanksgiving table.