The calendar may have read Nov. 16, but it sure looked (and tasted) like Thanksgiving at the Community Center on Joint Base-Myer Henderson Hall.

The enticing smells of turkey, stuffing, yams and pumpkin pie filled the air as dozens gathered for JBM-HH's Gospel Service and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers annual all-service Thanksgiving dinner.

"This luncheon started in Memorial Chapel under the leadership of Chaplain Sullivan in 1995 and has been hosted annually ever since," said volunteer Mona Fobish. "We do this to say thank you to all our servicemembers, past and present. You have fought to keep us and America free and to help uphold the values our country was founded on and we say thank you. You have worn your uniform proudly and fought with dignity."

Soldiers, Marines and their families enjoyed the meal, which was prepared and served by volunteers. Among those dishing out the delicacies were JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter; Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps Henderson Hall Commanding Officer Col. Anthony S. Barnes; Sgt. Maj. Craig Cressman, H&S Battalion sergeant major; and Chap. (Maj.) Jerald Jacobs, deputy chaplain for JBM-HH.

"It's a great service that you guys are doing for our Soldiers and Marines, and from the bottom of my heart I just want to tell you thank you," Barnes said.

Volunteer Freda Womack said there was enough food on hand to serve 250 people and that all the food preparation was a labor of love.

"Joy, we get joy," she continued. "People come in and get a good meal and have fellowship. We have a blessed and wonderful time."

Marine Cpl. Jerry Wilkins of H&S Battalion and Sumpter exchanged greetings as he moved down the serving line and she ladled gravy on his mashed potatoes, turkey and dressing.
"It's great," he said of the meal. "I've got a big family, so I'm actually eating like three times for Thanksgiving."

Members of the joint base's Samoan congregation performed traditional music and dance routines in addition to a sign language interpretation of "God Bless America" during the event.