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Arlington Legion Lounge hosts Thanksgiving dinner

ARLINGTON — Veterans Day isn't the only holiday during which past and present service members can find a hot meal at the Arlington American Legion Post 76 Lounge, located at 115 N. Olympic Ave.

Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion and members of the Legion Auxiliary, as well as their families, can stop by the Arlington Legion Post Lounge on Thursday, Nov. 28, for Thanksgiving dinners from 3-5 p.m., or until they run out of food, whichever comes first, but only if they call the Arlington Legion at 360-435-2492 no later than Monday, Nov. 25.

"We need to know how many folks will be coming," said Barb Lloyd, who handles public relations for Arlington American Legion Post 76, and noted that the maximum dining capacity for the Lounge is between 80-90 people. "If you don't call in ahead of time, there's no guarantee that there will be enough food left over for you. Please be ready to present your membership cards as well."

While attendees are being asked to bring their own side dishes, Lloyd promised that sufficient quantities of turkey, potatoes and gravy would be on the menu for those who took the time to RSVP before the deadline. Barb credited her husband Bill Lloyd, a member of the Sons of the American Legion, with suggesting the idea, for the Thanksgiving dinner in the Post Lounge, to the Arlington Legion back in 2007. Since then, the Post Lounge has hosted the event four times by her reckoning.

"Bill was worried that there were members who did not have anyone to share their Thanksgiving dinners with," Barb Lloyd said. "That first dinner, Bill helped Remi and Gayle Ricci cook turkey, potatoes and gravy, while other members supplied the side dishes. We were pretty nervous that we wouldn't have much of a turnout, and there were naysayers who didn't think it would fly, but it ended up being the one of the most attended events we've ever had."

In more recent years, Bill and Barb Lloyd have cooked the turkeys, potatoes and gravy, with other members signing up to bring side dishes, and random people pitching in to clean up.

"It really is a fun day of good food, friends, family and, of course, the football games," Barb Lloyd laughed. "All five TV sets in the Legion Lounge will have football games playing."

As Barb Lloyd reflected on the upcoming holiday, she acknowledged that she has so many things for which to be thankful herself that it's hard for her to narrow her list down.

"If I were to share one thought, though, it would be that I am thankful for my family, friends and relatively good health," Lloyd said, "and, of course, I am very thankful for the men and women who defend our country."

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