WAHIAWA, Hawaii - Thanksgiving cheer was celebrated a day early as Soldiers and their families from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division, helped to provide a joyful meal to the local community, here, Nov. 22.
"This is the 6th Annual Thanksgiving Luau that Surfing the Nations has put on," said Ben Dojohn, a volunteer for Surfing the Nations. "Our whole idea is usually, even during the Thanksgiving season, a lot of ... taking, enjoying food and enjoying family."
According to Dojohn, about 40 members from the Bronco Brigade family provided invaluable volunteer support for the event.
"They're here just to serve the people, whether that is serving food in the back or serving the people directly in the front here," Dojohn said. "They're a huge help that we couldn't do the event out with.
"We understand ... being in Wahiawa a lot of people here don't necessarily have the opportunity," he said, "so we want to give back to the community and to share a meal with them, to have some entertainment on stage and to enjoy this Thanksgiving season."
Julia Hughes, spouse to Staff Sgt. Brian Hughes, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Inf. Regiment, 3rd BCT, was one of the numerous spouses lending a hand during the Thanksgiving meal.
"We're out here serving Surfing the Nations," said Hughes. "We're serving a Thanksgiving meal with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and rice, and all the fixings, including deserts like pumpkin pie.
"It's an honor to be able to give back and to help those that may not have a home to go to for Thanksgiving dinner," she added. "It's a way to bring our home to their home and to give a service with a smile."
Some in the local community enjoying the festivities were military veterans.
Herbert Downes, a U.S. Army and Korean War veteran, shook the hand of 1st Lt. Kevin Otwoma, assigned to 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, for his service and help during the Thanksgiving luau.
"It's a wonderful day to me," Downes said. "It's a wonderful thing for the military and I appreciate that."
Cindy Bauer, co-founder of Surfing the Nations, thanked Chris Ryan for helping to organize support, saying, "She is probably one of the most amazing women I've ever met, and so completely committed."