LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Oak Grove Senior and Veterans Center held a Monday afternoon Thanksgiving meal filled with comradery and gestures of respect and appreciation.
Shriners of Chenzira Temple number 235 of Hattiesburg passed out the plates, and felt a sense of satisfaction serving.
"We wanted to find an organization that we could give back, not only to the veterans, but to the senior citizens," Shriner Steve Collins said.
So these Shriners of Hattiesburg put turkey and ham on the table for seniors and veterans in Lamar County.
"The ones that we have to be able to see us coming out and giving back, it really made some of them feel good about themselves," Collins said.
The center provides the chance for all of them to gather and enjoy one another's company, share stories and create bonds.
"We talk about what happened while we were in the military," veteran Clinard Martin said. "What life has been about since we served our time."
The Shriners took the greens, beans, potatoes and tomatoes to tables full of laughter and joy ahead of the holiday season, the only moments of silence coming when it was time to feast.
"The laughter the tears, the appreciation that we had from a lot of people really made us feel good," Collins said.
It was the group's second year volunteering for the holidays, something they want to make a tradition.
A salute to soldiers and seniors from an organization happy to spread cheer.
"I didn't know about the connection and bond until we did this, and then I thought if somebody was to do this for me when I got their age, it would be awesome," Collins said.
The center is opened to seniors 55 and up or veterans. The daily meals served are provided by Pearl River Valley Opportunity, who said they are open to assist veterans and their spouses five days a week.