Hurry up and wait is a standard expression within the Army, but Nov. 19, U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Soldiers and Civilian employees got an exemption to that policy by celebrating Thanksgiving early with a holiday luncheon.

The luncheon, sponsored by the USAG Chaplain Office, provided the garrison community with an opportunity for fellowship and to enjoy a meal together, said Chap. (Capt.) Fred Wendell, USAG Catholic chaplain.

Just as the meal, a traditional feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, corn and other side dishes, was open to all garrison employees, it was made possible by the same employees, Wendell said, adding all the food, with the exception of the meat (provided by the USAG Chaplain Office staff), was provided by donations.

Sharing was a major theme of the event. In addition to the responsibility of providing for each other's enjoyment, Chap. (Lt. Col.) Robert Phillips, garrison chaplain, said the event was also a chance for people to share advice and compassion.

"With BRAC, there is much anxiety and uncertainty, and the worst thing for someone to do is be isolated," he said. "These are the times we need to reconnect with Family, faith and the community."

Besides thinking of those in the immediate community, Wendell said he also hoped people will take the time to reflect on the less fortunate.

"I hope that as they enjoyed their meal they were conscious of those who don't have enough to eat," he said, adding people should strive to make the world a better place for those who live in it.

The get together was just one way Wendell said the chapel staff tries to achieve that goal.

"The chapel staff has many different opportunities (to minister), and the most important is to bring people together," he said.

Jan Ingram, protestant religious educator, said the official attendance count was 121, down from 240 last year.

"It may have been due to people taking the day off to have a longer weekend," she said.

No matter the count or reasons for drops, Phillips said numbers do not necessarily indicate success.

"We want to bring people together, and any opportunity to gather people together for a meal and fellowship is a success," Phillips said.