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By DOC WATSON
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | Some 100 people showed up at the VFW/Lion’s Club building throughout Christmas Day to enjoy a free meal and companionship at what is hoped to be the first annual such get together for those who are alone on that day.
As reported in the Dec. 21 edition of the Herald Times, this was the vision of Army veteran Ken Culler, along with his wife, fellow veteran Brenda, and with the aid of many others that vision became reality.
In fact, while the Culler’s own Battle Buddy Ranch was the official sponsor of the event, no less than 60 people lent their support. In addition to individuals, backing came from VFW Post 5843, American Legion Post 74, VFW Auxiliary, Lion’s Club of Meeker, the United Methodist Church, St. James Episcopal Church, Western Slope In Home Care and Watt’s Ranch Market.
“Actually, we originally were just going to have coffee and cinnamon rolls,” Brenda said. “But people started donating green beans, candied yams, turkey—before we knew it we had a full meal.”
The event was not confined to one building, however. “Brunch” was delivered about 11 a.m., followed by a turkey dinner later in the day, not only to the on-duty personnel at the Sheriff’s Office but also to the inmates.
Sheriff Anthony Mazzola commented that in all his years of service, he had never seen anything like this.
The Cullers recounted a couple of especially poignant moments. One was the needy family that drifted through town on Christmas Day only to find their needs met. Having eaten very little in three days, a young couple and their baby found a feast here. With tears in his eyes, the man asked if there was any work he could do to earn the meal they received, but that, of course, is not what acts of mercy and grace are about.
And then there was the fellow who had hitchhiked to Meeker hoping to catch a ride on the Meeker Streaker to the homeless shelter in Grand Junction. Someone at the Rec Center gave him the coat off their back, another gave him their lunch, the food bank packed up some perishable food, someone else bought him some needed items at Family Dollar and still another paid for driving him to Grand Junction.
As anyone can see, it is that kind of reaching out, and this new annual event, that again demonstrate that Meeker is a special kind of community.