Elks Host Holiday Meal for Veterans

Elks Host Holiday Meal for Veterans

Elks Host Holiday Meal for Veterans

The Hudson Lodge of Elks No. 1426 held its annual Veterans Holiday Dinner on Dec. 14, where approximately 70 veterans and their families enjoyed a delicious roast pork dinner, and special pastries from the Dutch Kitchen in Catskill.

A very touching and heartfelt story was given by Sgt. Matt Wray, who served in the U.S Marines and Army from 1998-2002 in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He shared his experience overseas, as he was wounded in combat, clinging onto life. He made it back to the United States, where he woke up in Walter Reed Medical Center on Christmas day surrounded by his family. He know lives at the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center on McLaughlin Way in Gardner, and wants to dedicate his experience and life to Jesus Christ.

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He also wanted to especially acknowledge the older veterans from the Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II, who did not come back and receive that type of acknowledgment and praise. They are all brave veterans, unsung heroes, who fought for the freedom that we have today, he said.

Veterans’ groups that attended included the Northampton Veterans Home, Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center of Gardner and Winchendon, Mount Wachusett Community College Veterans, Veterans Homestead Inc., including its five homes; the Northeast Veteran Training and Rehabilitation Center of Gardner, Veterans Homestead Hospice in Fitchburg, Armistice Homestead and Hero Homestead in Leominster, and Victory Farm in Fitzwilliam, N.H.

This year the Elks also opened it up to local veterans in the community, with invitations being sent out to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and local senior centers. The response in the public was not as good as they hoped, but a great day was had by all.

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