Veteran’s Day at Ela Township was like none other this year. For so many of our country’s veterans, this day typically means getting together at the local VFW, Legion Hall, elementary school, or Senior Center to enjoy a meal, check-in with fellow veterans and rehash their times of military service. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down nearly every corner of the globe, most Veteran’s Day celebrations were canceled.
At Ela Township 55+, folks found a way to pay tribute, feed veterans and keep everyone safe. Ela 55+ offered all veterans a free lunch via contact-free curbside pick-up. The Township’s Ela 55+ Chef, Lynn Garret, prepared a hearty lunch of lasagna, salad and cake that was distributed with the help of the entire staff as well as Ela Township’s Supervisor Gloria Palmblad, including trustees Larry Bowman and Joel Sikes. Veterans were incredibly appreciative and in jubilant moods as they drove up to receive their meal.
One senior expressing his gratitude stated, “Tonight I enjoyed a veteran’s meal thanks to the Ela Township Senior Center. I especially thank you, Lynn (Garrett) and to all who assisted in providing a meal for veterans on this day of appreciation. We have repeatedly enjoyed the meals provided by Lynn and the Senior Center and are most appreciative of this service.”
While many services shut down earlier this year in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ela 55+ moved from their in-person daily lunches to contact-free curbside pick-up lunches. This program has been incredibly popular, and the seniors have been raving about it. In fact, Lynn Garret was awarded the Senior Staff of the Year by the Illinois Township Association of Senior Citizens Services Committees (ITASCSC) for her tireless efforts in preparing delicious, well-balanced meals and desserts everyday.
The Township saw over 75 people for lunch on Veteran’s Day. Over 45 of those attendees were veterans and they received their meal at no cost. Otherwise, seniors paid $5.00, which is the cost of lunch each day at the center.
It may not have been the usual luncheon hosted by Ela Township 55+ staff, with tables of memorabilia, veterans in their military garb and table service, but it was a delicious meal and a heartfelt tribute to all of our veterans in recognition of the great sacrifices made in service to our nation.