FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Fort Riley soldiers forced to spend the holidays away from their loved ones were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving spread.
Specialist Miguel Velilla spent last Thanksgiving in Iraq so as he sat down to enjoy the holiday at Fort Riley Thursday, he couldn’t help but think about those who are currently defending our nation.
"To all of my friends that I have met in the Army and to those all those people out there working hard for us, I’m thankful for all those things," he said.
Velilla and many other Fort Riley soldiers are stationed far from their families so to give them a sense of normalcy and tradition, Army cooks worked overtime to make a Thanksgiving feast.
"It’s all about giving them the opportunity to celebrate this day and give thanks away from their families if they didn’t have the opportunity to get home. About everything you’d see on your traditional family table is right there available to them," said Brian Tempest, Commander of the 1st Sustainment Brigade which is part of the 1st Infantry Division.
Tempest and other members of the 1st Sustainment Brigade's command group helped serve soldiers their meals at the Cantigny Dining Facility on Custer Hill as a way of showing their appreciation.
"It took us about 24 hours to prepare all of this food. I had three different teams in. We worked nonstop around the clock since about 5:30 yesterday morning. We go home tired but very proud that we have actually put it off for them," said Sergeant First Class Richard Dorian, the manager of the dining facility.
Fort Riley hosted traditional Thanksgiving meals
at three of its dining facilities during the week of Thanksgiving.
Soldiers, family members, retirees and Department of Defense ID
cardholders were encouraged to attend.
At the Cantigny Dining Facility alone, crews expected to serve between 1,000-1,200 people Thursday.