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Naval Station Mayport holds annual Thanksgiving feast

Hundreds of people were at the Oasis Galley and families shared with First Coast News what this day means to them and why the dinner was so special.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thanksgiving Day is a day of love, gratefulness and giving. At the Oasis Galley you can feel that energy all throughout the room.

“This is what we do, this is our Super Bowl of culinary skills here. Just to see the smiling faces on the sailors and the retired veterans’ faces. This is all of the true meaning of thanksgiving," said Steward Spencer, Officer in charge at Oasis Galley.

Spencer says Thanksgiving dinner usually brings more than 350 people, and the preparation for a feast like this takes a couple of weeks.

“We got sailors from all 50 states including Puerto Rico," said Brian Binder, Commanding Officer at Naval Station Mayport. "I just had a sailor at the Naval Station Mayport check in on Monday, and he’s originally from Puerto Rico. So for all our sailors that can’t be home for the holiday season, they get to celebrate thanksgiving at the Oasis Galley."

We talked to marine veteran, Edward Warren, and his wife Phyllis. They tell me these type of events are needed for not only the veterans but active duty.

Warren says when he was doing basic training in San Diego before leaving to Vietnam, the USO and the base MRW had people sign up to take someone home for Thanksgiving.

“It was really something because that was my first time away from home and going to Vietnam. They came and pick us up and brought us back," said Warren. 

The retired veterans and active duty say they are so thankful for the chefs at Oasis Galley.

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