American Legion Post 278, The Waterin’ Trough and H-E-B of Granbury are sponsoring a second annual free Thanksgiving meal to disabled military veterans and their families on Saturday, Nov. 20, beginning at 9 a.m. at The Waterin’ Trough, located at 800 W. Pearl St.

Asa Maddox, one of the organizers of the event, helped the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Chapter 238 with the event last year, along with Denise Blanchette and Eugene “Pappy” Clower of The Waterin’ Trough. In 2020, they helped feed 20 veterans and their families during Thanksgiving.

This year, Maddox, Blanchette and Clower decided to host the free Thanksgiving dinner for a second time, hoping to feed even more families in Hood County.

“Our main goal this year is to feed more than we did last year, and each year to increase it as we go, and that's what we're trying to do this year,” Blanchette said. “Since we did 20 last year, 25 to 30 would be good this year.”

“I think every little bit helps,” Maddox said. “We're just trying to help them, to better them in any little way. This is just a little bit from what they need, just a little piece to help them on their way, to get back into normal life, and to show them that there's a lot of people out there who really care, that they're not alone. We try and make a difference and every little bit helps, so if we can feed 25 or 30 veterans that are disabled that are not able to have a Thanksgiving dinner, and we can provide them with that, that means a lot more to me. Whatever number we feed I feel makes a difference no matter what. If we feed one, we make a difference. If we feed 100, it makes a difference.”

Maddox is also a military veteran, so he understands the hardships other veterans have faced, and knows what it’s like to not have a Thanksgiving dinner.

He served in both the Navy and Army for a total of six years, enlisting three separate times.

"From 1967 to ‘69, I was in the U.S. Navy, got out, went back home to Mississippi and couldn't find any work, so I went back and joined again and went to the United States Army and was sent to Vietnam as military police,” he said. “I spent two years there from ‘70 to ‘72, got out, got back home and again, I couldn't find work. So, within nine days, I went back in the military and went back in the Navy this time. I went in 1972, was put aboard a ship and was sent back to Vietnam. I got out September of ‘73 and hadn't been back in since. I kind of thought I might kick myself in the rear for not staying for the 20, but I guess I was a glutton for punishment by being in the military three different times.

“I mean, you get home in Mississippi, and there's not much in jobs in the old town that you're in, you don't have a vehicle and hey, you go back in and at least they'll give you three meals and a cot,” Maddox said, with a laugh.

Maddox, Blanchette and Clower are asking for food and cash donations in order to make this event possible.

The following food items are needed: dressing mix, corn bread mix, boxed instant potatoes, canned green beans, peas, yams and cranberry sauce.

Cash donations will be used to purchase turkeys and hams from H-E-B.

“We're never really too sure of how many veterans we're going to be able to serve,” Maddox said. “The cash donations to us for this project depends on how many turkeys and hams we can buy.”

If any veterans are interested in a Thanksgiving dinner, they are asked to call The Waterin’ Trough to register at 817-573-3232.

“We will even load your car for you,” Maddox added. “You don't even have to get out. Just drive up and we'll give you a turkey, ham and all of the trimmings.”

He said there are more than 6,000 veterans in Hood County, but isn’t certain how many are disabled.

“It's all about what they sacrificed,” he said. “They sacrificed their life, their families, everything for us. Now it's our turn to help them.”

“This is for more than just disabled (veterans),” Blanchette added. “I mean a lot of them may have fallen on hard times. We just wanted to do some good for someone. I have many family members that were in the military. My husband's father, my father, two brothers and a sister were all in the military. These people were there for us. So now it's our turn to be there for them — and that's what our goal is.”

For more information, contact Maddox at 817-964-7761 or The Waterin’ Trough at 817-573-3232. | 817-573-1243