Every Warrior holds Thanksgiving meal for hundreds of active-duty personnel
It’s about “... letting families know that they have family here”
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Thanksgiving is around the corner, and many of us are preparing to get together and celebrate.
On the other hand, many active-duty military members are preparing to celebrate *away from family.”
KSLA News 12′s Michael Barnes was there Sunday night when Every Warrior Network hosted its Thanksgiving feast for some of the people serving our country.
Almost 1,000 people gathered at the Shreveport Convention Center to celebrate a military-friendly Thanksgiving with Every Warrior Network.
For some members like Jean Collazo, the Every Warrior Network feast means a lot.
“This is just a reminder that this organization not only helps the members but also the families of the members,” he said. “I know that I have people that will take care of my wife when I’m deployed.”
The organization has felt like home for Collazo, especially after leaving his home in Puerto Rico following the disastrous Hurricane Irma.
“Initially when I first got here, it was very hard. I didn’t know anybody. I had a language barrier since my primary language is Spanish. I was not just dealing with being homesick, but I was also dealing with a culture change.”
But he found comfort and a family after meeting his wife, Sarah. And she’s grateful that the Warrior Network supports their relationship.
“I love being here. I am very grateful for Trey and Eric, both with the Warrior Network. They have become a family to me. My family, while they are close by, they don’t understand the way military family relationships become.”
First Sgt. Bernie Wilburn, who joined the Air Force in 2004, said she knows what it’s like to celebrate holidays away from family.
“I started in South Carolina, and then I went to Korea, and then I went to Panama City and then Fort Walton Beach.”
Her daughter Brynlee is never without her family, but moving around is still difficult for her.
“It’s kind of sad leaving all my friends because I will build relationships with them. Then whenever I move, it’s just like broken.”
As an experienced active-duty member of the military, First Sgt. Wilburn has adjusted well to the ever-changing lifestyle.
“I think a lot of this is what I’m used to. That’s what it’s like in the military. We kind of create a family outside of our own family.
“For this and Trey and everybody putting this on for us, this is what it’s about. Finding your family away from your family and learning how to be there for each other.”
Every Warrior Network volunteer Davon Anderson expounded on the reason for the Thanksgiving feast. “Not just making sure that families away from families are having a good time, but also letting families know that they have family here.
“Sometimes the thing that we just need is an introduction,” Anderson continued. “So while we’re feeding everybody and while we’re loving on everybody and while we’re sharing stories, we’re also allowing families to meet and greet and love on one another.”
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