Volunteers give back at Thanksgiving | NevadaAppeal.com

Volunteers give back at Thanksgiving

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

Fallon’s American Legion Post 16 and its volunteers bring cheer to the community’s senior citizens during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each year, the American Legion post prepares and delivers more than 100 meals to seniors in place of the Meals on Wheels program, which doesn’t deliver on the two holidays. Longtime organizer and U.S. Air Force veteran Lance McNeil said he had “more than enough” volunteers to package the emails and deliver them to about 120 seniors who live within the city limits and in the county. This year, McNeil relied on civilian volunteers, retired veterans, and sailors from the Association of Aviation Ordnancemen Chapter 16 at Naval Air Station Fallon. He also had help from several members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1002.

Navy sailor Newman Johnson and his wife, Cherish, moved from Washington state in July to Fallon. They find it difficult returning to Kentucky for the holidays so they volunteer locally.

“We’ll also do Christmas here,” she said. “We like the community, and everyone is welcoming here.”

Cherish Johnson said it’s important to show their daughter the importance of helping others.

Jakob Parks, another ordnanceman at NAS Fallon who has helped the local American Legion post for three years, said this season of volunteering in Fallon will be bittersweet. He and his family will be relocating next year to San Diego.

“This community is great,” Parks said. “Being able to give back is humbling.”

This is the second year Syranhee Parks has volunteered. She attended elementary school in Fallon before moving to Reno when she was 12 years old. She echoed her husband’s comments.

“I also have mixed feelings,” she said. “This is a great town, great community.”

Both Jakob and Syranhee said they are glad to have been volunteers to prepare and deliver meals to the seniors. Like many other sailors and their families, they also volunteer at other events during the year such as Wreaths Across America, the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival or the Labor Day pancake breakfast.

Tina Glushenko and her daughter, Johnale, have been driving from Modesto, Calif., to Fallon every Thanksgiving to spend time with Tina’s brother. The Gluschenkos have been helping with the meals program for the past three years in what began as a school project.

“It started when she needed credits for volunteering,” Tina said of her daughter. “Now she wants to come and do it.”

Tina Glushenko said people need to work together to help those in need.

“I want to help people, and I look forward to this every year,” Johnale said.

Retired Navy veteran Mike Hall has lived in Fallon for 28 years said it’s a good gesture to deliver meals to the area’s seniors.

“It’s nice to give back,” he said, before lining up to fill another container with food.