Giving "thanks" for veterans on Thanksgiving Day

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SARASOTA - Many of us are fortunate enough to share Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family.  But for some Suncoast War Veterans, that's not the case.   That's why the VFW made sure local heroes had a place to enjoy the holiday.

There's a lot that comes with putting together Thanksgiving dinner from carving the turkey to lots of baking.  And while many host the traditional meal at home for Remi Erny it's a different story.

"I came from Italy and I have a lot to be thankful for being a naturalized citizen, and I came over here in 1955, Thanksgiving Day, so it's a special day for me so I need to give back to this country," Erny said.

That is why she volunteered her time on Thanksgiving preparing a meal for Veterans and their families at a VFW post in Sarasota.

"Our veterans gave us our freedom and that's why this country is what it is today," Erny said.

For some, gathering at the VFW on Thanksgiving is a tradition.

"We've been coming about 3 or 4 years and we get to celebrate it with all our friends," said Connie Ruggeri, who enjoyed dinner with her husband who was a veteran.

And for others, it simply came down to not having to spend it alone.

"I don't have family around here so this is my second family, the place to be," said Vietnam Veteran Howard Raich.

Then there's those who don't care where they spend Thanksgiving as long as it's with loved ones.

"I'm so happy to spend Thanksgiving with my family and with my parents," Beau Blackburn said .  "And my grandparents."

The VFW charged $5 per plate, and said all the money raised will go straight to helping local charities.  If you see veterans don't forget to thank them for everything they have done for our freedom and country.