TOTM Meade Park veterans meal

The scene at the 2018 veterans celebration at Meade Park Elementary School in Danville.

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Sunday’s News-Gazette will include an eight-page special section devoted to area veterans. At news-gazette.com, we’ll also list events leading up to and on Veterans Day. Before that ...

Tonight at Meade Park Elementary School in Danville, area veterans will be treated to a home-cooked meal and rousing games of bingo, courtesy of staff and students.

It’s payback for all the goodwill generated by VA Illiana Health Care System visitors during the school year,

“Many of our students have participated in trick-or-treating at the VA or had veterans come in to read to them or listen to them read, so they are very familiar with whom we are serving,” said Laurie Johnson, the school’s home interventionist. “They are excited to be able to give back even a small amount of what the veterans continue to give us through their service and now volunteering at our school.”

The menu and mood gives the annual celebration a Thanksgiving feel. Nearly everyone at the school pitches in, from staff cooking ham to students waiting tables.

“Truly a group effort,” Johnson said.

It’s truly appreciated.

“Every year, they tell us that this is one event that everyone looks forward to,” Johnson said. “I am still not sure who loves it more, though: the veterans or our staff that is there to serve them.”