Skip to comments.Community revives Canteen spirit for 700 servicemen, women
Posted on 08/02/2018 2:49:04 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- Seventy-seven years have passed since North Platte first welcomed troops at the Canteen with some food and kindness. That spirit of generosity and patriotism still carries on today and the recent community effort to feed 700 U.S. Army men and women passing through the area is proof.
The two-day effort on Monday and Tuesday to serve up a tasty meal for our troops had to be kept quiet for security reasons; but, now News 2 has permission to share about the community effort behind the Canteen revival.
Lisa Burke of the North Platte / Lincoln County Visitors Bureau says that there were only six days to prepare for the convoy; nevertheless, the event ran smoothly and touched many hearts.
"I'll be honest," John Lacour, a specialist with the U.S. Army, said. "I've never had anything that was quite this much hospitality before, so it's a little overwhelming, but it was very nice. The food was very great and I was actually starving."
Lacour said the group's travels from Wyoming to Arkansas have been long.
"Honestly, I didn't really know about this stop and all these people were so welcoming," Eduardo Valle, a specialist with the U.S. Army, said. "It was really enjoyable and the food was really good, too. Those steak burgers really got me feeling great, so I really like that a community can come together and just make us feel really good about what we do. It's nice."
Just as this Canteen revival made an impact on the servicemen and women, volunteers also were humbled by the experience to display their roots of patriotism and generosity.
"If you know anything about the Navy, it's all about tradition, which is part of what being [at this event] is about, as well," Andy Miller, a Navy veteran and volunteer, said. "North Platte has its own traditions, the biggest being the Canteen, so it's such an exciting thing to be part of a revival of something that is so deeply rooted in the history of the town."
Young volunteers were eager to express their gratitude to the people who put their lives on the line for freedom.
"We're here to honor and support the troops," Micheala Wright, a volunteer holding welcome signs with a sports team, said. "I was excited to come help people who have fought for our freedom."
Ten-year-old Ian Julius spent Monday afternoon with his mother, handing out water bottles to the troops as they departed.
"I just wanted to say thanks to the soldiers for serving our country," Julius said.
Being able to see their reaction to the surprise meal was a highlight of the event for JoLynn Petersen, Julius's mother.
"Their facial expressions say it all. They are so grateful. They are so surprised," Petersen said. "They didn't expect any of this and they're just blown away with number of people who greet them as they come off the bus, the food, the conversations, and just the relaxed atmosphere."
Petersen says she is excited to be a part of the Canteen revival in 2018.
"It's been neat to see the community just wrap around this and embrace, not only the history of the Canteen, but to relive it today," Petersen said.
The mayor of North Platte thinks the event is a good way to showcase North Platte's "big heart."
"This is an exciting moment for us, as North Platte is well know for is generosity and volunteerism and that's what this is all about," Mayor Dwight Livingston said. "North Platte is known for big hearts and its giving and I'm pretty excited about that."
The meal for troops was held at the D&N Event Center and included steak sandwiches, ham and turkey sandwiches, potato salad, deviled eggs, pickles, chips, brownies, cookies, water, tea and coffee. Area businesses helped contribute food and money for the meal.
The Visitors Bureau notes that the lieutenant in charge of the convoy is familiar with the Canteen and its history in North Platte, so he is sharing its story with the Army men and women. The Visitors Bureau adds that he will be donating the money saved on the meal stop to both the Lincoln County Historical Museum for the preservation of the Canteen story and a Service Personnel charity.
Read the original version of this article at www.knopnews2.com.
I saw this in the Wall Street Journal. Great story.
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