Oklahoma soldiers help out at Tulsa's John 3:16 Mission

Thursday, November 25th 2004, 6:05 am
By: News On 6

A Thanksgiving season to remember for hundreds of soldiers from Oklahoma. Last year, those soldiers were away in Afghanistan.

This year, they're at home and as News on 6 anchor Craig Day explains, some are still serving others in a different way this Thanksgiving.

For one year, some Oklahoma soldiers served in Afghanistan. Now home, they are serving in Tulsa at the John 3:16 Mission. 1st Sgt Ron Owens: "I'm glad to be able to help them. I'm glad to be able to share Thanksgiving with any American actually. I think it's a just a beautiful thing." Lt Col Hopper Smith: "part of it is to help them. And part of it is it ministers to us."

The soldiers are with the 45th Infantry Division. Last Thanksgiving, they were away from their homes, family and friends. 1st Sgt Ron Owens: "There are a lot of things you take for granted and that experience puts things in a different light."

Volunteers at the John 3:16 Mission will serve 1,500 Thanksgiving meals at its Tulsa facility by the end of the weekend. That's in addition to the thousands of food baskets sent out to families in need.

John 3:16's Reverend Steve Whitaker says he's thankful for the outpouring of support from the community to make the Thanksgiving meal possible. He also appreciates these military men who are still willing to serve. "Incredible moment. These guys have gone and served our nation overseas. Put themselves in harms way, left their families behind, had incredible sacrifices and yet they are willing to come tonight and serve the homeless."

They are volunteers who share the thought that Thanksgiving is not just a holiday about turkey and dressing and all the fixins'. It's really about kindness, blessings, and making the world a better place for people in need.

The News on 6 has been telling you this week about John 3:16's severe shortage of turkeys this Thanksgiving. Folks have really given from the heart over the last couple of days. In fact, John 3:16 Mission not only reached its goal of five thousand turkeys, they surpassed it.