Local Families Invite Soldiers for Thanksgiving

It's hard to be away from your family during the holidays. Especially hard if you're in the military and heading to the Middle East right after the holidays. In order to help give many of these soldiers a little holiday cheer, some Chatham County families are opening their homes.

They are organizing Thanksgiving dinners, opening not only their homes but their ovens, asking soldiers to bring their appetites for a good meal.

The Third ID will be deploying again in January, and that's what prompted Bill Quirk to take action. "I was in the military for five years I know what it's like to be lonesome and away from family."

Quirk decided to invite soldiers who can't make it home to his home for Thanksgiving. He then put an add in the Landings paper to see if anyone else was interested in hosting a soldier. The response was overwhelming: 41 families said yes.

"We now have 122 soldiers we hope will be coming to the Landings for Thanksgiving and it's just wonderful," said Quirk.

Kay Eskew is one of the other volunteers who responded immediately. "My son is insane about the military," she told us. "He loves everything to do with it and he's been calling all his buddies, telling them we have a soldier coming to Thanksgiving."

And these families can't wait to get to know these men and women a little better. "He watched the outbreak of the Iraq war over breakfast in the morning, so he was involved before he went to school," said Eskew. "What these soldiers do mean a great deal to him"

And Quirk hopes these soldiers take back more than a doggie bag, but some good memories too. "We'll have a wonderful environment, we'll watch football games and there will be laughter and make them feel at home."

There will be soldiers coming to houses both from Fort Stewart and Hunter, giving new meaning to the word feeding an Army for the chefs at these homes.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com