By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Hudson AMVETS Post 208 had typically thanked supporters of its Home Alone for the Holidays program with a thank-you letter. This year, ongoing contributors who continued to support the program’s 25th anniversary were each recognized with a plaque during a breakfast, held May 3 at the lodge.
Honorees were the American Legion Post 132 in Marlborough; AMVETS Auxiliary Post 208 in Hudson; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 82, based in Marlborough; Fourstar Connections in Hudson; Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 643 in Hudson; Italian American War Veterans Post 45 in Marlborough; Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129; and Cecil “Butch” Veinotte, an AMVETS member of Hudson.
This past Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Home Alone program provided over 900 hot turkey dinners for area residents who otherwise might not have observed the holidays with a traditional meal. Volunteers delivered meals to 10 communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough and Southborough. Guests were also welcomed at the post and served a dinner.
Commander Chuck Armstead credits the program’s success to its many experienced volunteers. Wayne Korpi once again manned the kitchen along with other longtime volunteers. Past Commander Bill Rivers served as event chair for his 19th year.
“The past commander helped us by making sure we knew who had donated in the past, so that we could reach out to them,” Armstead explained.
Past supporters received a letter from Armstead and Rivers, stating in part, “Unfortunately, there are no hot Meals on Wheels or restaurants to accommodate people alone for the holidays.”
“We had a lot of volunteers show up and plenty of food; that’s really what made it successful,” Armstead said.
Those honored at the breakfast donated turkeys or gave monetary donations to purchase food.
Post 208 hosted special guests at the breakfast including AMVETS National Commander Larry E. Via. A life member of AMVETS Post 23 in Naples, Fla., he’s now stationed at the national headquarters in Lanham, Md. While he has visited Massachusetts previously, this was his first time in Hudson.
“The posts in Massachusetts have always done a tremendous job for AMVETS,” Via said. “As national commander and being an officer all the way from post levels, I’ve seen what different states have done and Massachusetts has always excelled. That includes the Auxiliary and the Sons of AMVETS. They do an outstanding job, working together for the veterans and for the community.”
Also in attendance was state Rep. Kate Hogan, D-Stow.
“The Hudson AMVETS’s Home Alone for the Holidays program is, simply, amazing,” she said. “It is my honor to come to the post this morning and thank the volunteers who cook, drive, and make this great community event possible every year.”
Armstead expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to thank the ongoing supporters with plaques at the breakfast.
“We want to make sure that we can continue to have a relationship with these folks on an annual basis,” he said. “Without their support we just couldn’t do it.”