200 Vets Get Meal Aboard Battleship

CAMDEN, N.J., -- The Battleship New Jersey and Camden County Freeholder Board offered homeless veterans and active military personnel from Joint Base - McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Dover Air Force Base a full-course turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

"We feel that offering these brave men and women a hot Thanksgiving meal with all of the trimmings is the very least we can do to express our gratitude for their service to our country," said Freeholder Ed McDonnell, liaison to Camden County's Office of Veterans Affairs. "Their faithful duty to our nation makes us all truly thankful for these heroes on this holiday."

The meal was prepared by Andreotti's Catering and served by volunteers in the mess hall of the Battleship. A brief welcoming ceremony took place on the fantail before dinner was served.

"It is an honor to host our military heroes on this holiday," said Patricia Egan Jones, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Battleship and Camden County Surrogate. "To see the community come together to help these men and women who are either away from home or do not have a home, is truly an inspiration as we begin the holiday season."

Residents were invited to welcome and cheer on our heroes from the pier of the Battleship. Other officials in attendance included Congressman Donald Norcross, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Camden Mayor Dana Redd, Brigadier General James John Grant, and Cherry Hill Councilwoman and Gold Star Mother Melinda Kane.

The Thanksgiving Dinner for active military personnel and homeless veterans would not be possible without the help of event partners - Philadelphia 76ers, U.S. Family Health Plan, the Spevak Family, Barb's Harley Davidson, PJ Whelihan Restaurants, South Jersey Magazine, DJ Stewart Balsham, Bodek and Rhoades, and Balloon Celebrations.

Berthed on the Camden Waterfront across the Delaware River from Center City Philadelphia, the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is a non-profit historic ship museum that offers tours Saturdays and Sundays, as well as a few special weekdays, through December. Consult the Battleship's website for a schedule. The Battleship also offers overnight encampments for youth groups and families, special group and student tours and event rentals with a full catering menu. For more information on the ship's many programs, visit www.battleshipnewjersey.org.