It started out as a two-person pact between a dad and a daughter. Now they have the whole family involved.
One decade ago, Denny Brown and his stepdaughter Tara Linet were working together every day for Brown’s painting business. Their family always made plans to get together for Christmas rather than the last Thursday in November, so they were kind of on their own for Thanksgiving.
Brown is a lifelong resident of DeGraff and a decorated Vietnam veteran who knows pretty much every man, woman and child in Miami and Pleasant townships by sight. A decorated Vietnam veteran who is a permanent fixture at and tireless worker for American Legion Post 652 in DeGraff, Brown knew of quite a number of locals (not just vets) who for one reason or another had no Thanksgiving to look forward to, no thick slice of juicy white meat, no extra gravy on the mashed potatoes, no Parker House roll to butter, no slice of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped topping.
Discussing this with Linet, the pair got to spitballing and decided for Thanksgiving 2004 they would cook an extra turkey, with all the fixings, and deliver a few meals to those who may otherwise be alone on Thanksgiving, or could quite frankly use the meal.
As of Thanksgiving 2015, the number is up to seven turkeys, totaling 112 pounds on the bone. And it’s not just deliveries anymore. Post 652 has been opening its doors for the past several years on Thanksgiving Day to serve free meals to those who can use the sustenance and the fellowship the most, all this while Brown and crew are hitting the bricks to get meals out to those who can’t make it to DeGraff.
This will mark the first year that Linet won’t be part of the tradition as she is on assignment as a traveling nurse in Bangor, Maine, but Brown has drafted some more hands to put on deck. The whole process starts the Tuesday prior to the holiday, what with seven turkeys, stuffing, and mashed potatoes to prepare. Brown and his wife Joyce will be cooking three of the birds, daughter Sue Hubble cooking three more, and granddaughter Hailee Shultz baking one. Throw in corn, green beans, rolls, gravy, and pie it’s small wonder that that Brown and family need a 48-hour head start.
Last year, Brown delivered about 25 meals to Mary Rutan Hospital (“Why should they miss out?” Brown reasoned) in addition to the dozens of other meals served both on wheels and at the Legion.
Brown and his extended network of family and friends are now taking orders for delivery of Thanksgiving Day meals to homes across western Logan County. Those in the DeGraff or Quincy areas who can make it are welcome from noon to 2 p.m. at the American Legion Post 652 on west Miami Street in DeGraff.
Those who would like a meal delivered, or who know someone who could use a hearty plate of American fare this Thanksgiving are encouraged to call 441-3374, 441-0909, or 585-9038. Should one get voice mail, Brown asks that only a name and contact number be left. All calls will be returned promptly so that arrangements, addresses, and directions can be verified by a live person.
Brown is adamant about not missing a delivery because an address was garbled on a voice mail. He wants talk to a live person so that everybody is on the same page. Nothing, he said, would be more disheartening than looking forward to then missing out a rare visit and a slice of apple pie because a message got dropped.
“That’s not going to happen,” Brown said. “You’ll get a call back from me and we’ll get that meal out.”
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.