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Shared Thanksgiving is a fine tradition

Making this holiday festive for the entire community is the goal

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that features family, food, and yes, the occasional football game.

In the spirit of the holiday, thousands of people in the Fort Dodge region gathered around tables with relatives and friends for a traditional feast on Thursday. Dining room tables throughout the area were laden with turkeys, stuffing, corn, cranberries, green bean casseroles, pies and all kinds of other delicious things.

But some of our neighbors couldn’t afford such a meal. Perhaps some lost a job; perhaps others had been hit with unexpected and high medical bills. The result was that their financial picture didn’t include the means for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Still others were all alone for the holiday and couldn’t justify putting together a big meal.

Those factors, however, did not mean they had to miss out on Thanksgiving dinner. Others among our neighbors volunteered their time and energy to hold two free Thanksgiving dinners in Fort Dodge for anyone who couldn’t afford one or wanted some company on the holiday. Some of those volunteers rose before the sun on Thursday to make sure everything was done just right.

The Salvation Army in Fort Dodge has held a Thanksgiving dinner every year for decades. They repeated the feat Thursday.

A decade ago, the Johnson family — Casey, Deb, Matt, Abigail, Isabella, Nick and Jordan — began holding a Thanksgiving dinner at their business, Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota. They came through again on Thursday.

The efforts of both groups are in the finest tradition of Iowans helping Iowans. The Messenger salutes the Salvation Army, the Johnson family and all the volunteers involved in both efforts.

And in this season of Thanksgiving, we thank you.