Volunteers at Eagles Lodge cook up Thanksgiving feast | PostIndependent.com

Volunteers at Eagles Lodge cook up Thanksgiving feast

Post Independent/Kelley CoxVolunteer chefs Leonardo Smiley, left, and Shane Eagan whip up some mashed potatoes and carve their 15th turkey of the day at the Eagles lodge in Glenwood Springs on Thanksgiving Day.

It had already been a long day for Danny Gonzales late Thursday morning.With the smell of yams and cooking turkeys wafting through the air, Gonzales had spent Thanksgiving Day morning coordinating a cadre of eager volunteers at the crowded Eagles Lodge on Seventh Street in Glenwood Springs.”They all come down to help free of charge,” he said. “The people I do have here are very wonderful people. The kitchen crew has been here since 2 o’clock this morning.” Three chefs and families from all around the lower Roaring Fork Valley spent the morning preparing 18 turkeys to feed up to 250 people a hearty Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixin’s. It’s a 30-year tradition for the local Fraternal Order of Eagles aerie.

“I’ve been doing it 25 years,” Gonzales said. When it all started, he said, his fellow Eagles thought there were too many people who didn’t have a place go on Thanksgiving, so they decided to buy their own turkeys and invite the public to join them for dinner. “We don’t care who we feed as long as they’re hungry,” he said. Eagles lodge trustee Eric Hergert said the lodge is the only place in Glenwood Springs where people know they can come every Thanksgiving to get a good turkey dinner. “It’s absolutely the most important thing every year that we get this food out to these people,” he said.

Working hard preparing yams and take-out plates for people who couldn’t make it to the lodge for dinner, the volunteers were excited to be helping the community. Volunteer Jodi Swanson moved to Glenwood on Wednesday from Ely, Minn., following her mother, Jean Sundlie, who moved to town a week and a half ago from Madison, Wis.”We were looking for something to do on Thanksgiving,” Swanson said, sitting next to Sundlie. “We knew that more than likely there were volunteer opportunities.”Volunteer Dallas Groves, who also moved to Glenwood recently, was busy helping prepare the yams and the to-go boxes. “I volunteer in four places in town, and this is one of them,” she said.

Helping to prepare Thanksgiving dinner was an opportunity for Prentice Ash to show his kids how to serve others, he said, adding that his family came to volunteer with another family from Basalt. “We’re with a small group in our church and we decided that we wanted to participate in helping others in more need that we are,” Ash said. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com

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