Veterans, including the homeless and those in need, knew they could find a holiday meal and good friends Saturday night at Seaside American Legion Post 99.
The post held its annual Veterans Day dinner, with an open invite to all service vets. Legion First Commander Kim Wright headed up the kitchen, accompanied by a staff of four.
“We have got quite a few people in our area, unfortunately, who hit hard times,” said Wright, a retired 32-year veteran, speaking to the sharing nature of the evening. “Tonight is for homeless veterans and people who can use a free meal.”
The event is one of several the Seaside Legion presents for people in need each year, including an upcoming Christmas holiday dinner. Post 99, with more than 240 members, provides outreach to shelters in the area, with special invites to local nursing and care centers Avamere at Seaside and Suzanne Elise.
Gretchen Jolly, a lifelong Seaside resident, joined Wright in the kitchen. Jolly was inspired to volunteer because of the service of her grandparents, her stepfather and her ex-husband, she said.
“This is home,” Jolly said. “I grew up here, so I know so many faces. And the people are great who work here.”
Tawni Malmberg arrived Friday in Seaside from Utah. Her first stop was the American Legion, she said.
“I volunteered my time to do some cooking tonight,” Malmberg said. “They actually needed someone and I just walked in the door.”
Their efforts — including spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and beverages — were greatly appreciated.
“There are a lot of vets in Seaside,” Post member Sandra Gee said. “I think it’s a nice thing that this post is here for them. That they can come in and have a dinner like this tonight.”
Marion Gee, a Korean War veteran, said he looked forward to some conversation during the evening.
“We enjoy coming down here,” he said. “The only trouble is, the first person who tells a lie doesn’t have a chance.”