Thanksgiving week began for dozens of Bedford senior citizens Sunday afternoon the way it has every year for at least a half-century: a free holiday dinner at American Legion Post 221.
“Our most important citizens are our seniors – they’re the foundation of the great town that we live in,” said Paula Verrier, the retired Bedford High School teacher who serves as functions manager for the post.
Verrier said past Commander Gerry Hartman works with Alison Cservenschi, Council on Aging director, to spread the word about the free event and handle registration. “We bring in some new people every year,” Verrier said.
Verrier was four when she moved to Bedford in the late 1950s. She remembers when her father Paul joined other volunteers cooking the entire dinner – Ed Campbell, Ralph Park, Al and Lenny Milligan. Irene Rivet would mobilize the Women’s Auxiliary.
Guests at Sunday’s event included Cservenschi and her family and members of the Council on Aging. Among the volunteers was Gina Rada, Bedford and Lexington veterans services district director, who is now also an officer of Post 221. Arthur Conrad, post CFO, and Jon O’Connor, immediate past commander, took turns presiding.
Verrier said all the arms of the Legion post contributed to the event, including the Sons of the American Legion and the Legion Riders, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, which shares space in the building. She said volunteers of all ages responded to her call to support the dinner.