Antioch community plays host to the annual Sailors Dinner

  • The Antioch VFW treated 250 Navy Sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes to a holiday dinner.

    The Antioch VFW treated 250 Navy Sailors from Naval Station Great Lakes to a holiday dinner. Courtesy of Jim Moran

  • More than 80 community volunteers come together to help coordinate the annual holiday dinner tradition at the Antioch VFW.

    More than 80 community volunteers come together to help coordinate the annual holiday dinner tradition at the Antioch VFW. Courtesy of Robert Dean

 
 
Updated 12/21/2021 8:47 AM

Recently, 250 Sailors from the Naval Station Great Lakes had an opportunity to enjoy an extravagant holiday meal, along with entertainment and plenty of community cheer, at the annual Antioch Community Sailors Dinner Dec. 11 at the Antioch VFW. The dinner was organized by more than 80 community volunteers.

Last year's dinner was canceled because of COVID-19, so this year's volunteers worked to make sure the event could be held. The group had to follow strict COVID-19 protocols required by the Navy. Volunteers worked to plan the event, arranged transportation for the Sailors, served the meals, and provided tableside service.

 

Most importantly, the volunteers spent the evening talking, exchanging stories and laughing with the Sailors.

The Sailors were treated to a homestyle holiday meal, music by several local musicians, Christmas carols by the Westosha Sweet Adelines Choral Group, trivia games, and a speech about "the honor of one's service to their country."

Antioch Trustee Scott Pierce, one of the event organizers, said the evening was a big success.

"The Sailors were thrilled to have a special visit from Santa Claus," Pierce said. "They lined up for pictures with Santa to share with their families and friends. The Sailors also took the opportunity to tell Santa their Christmas wishes, which included opportunities for advancement and time with their families. It was a great evening for all!"

In addition to the dozens of volunteers, local businesses stepped forward to help. The Raymond Auto Group (Raymond Chevrolet/Kia) provided motor coaches to transport the Sailors to and from Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago. Piggly Wiggly and Lovin' Oven provided food for the meals.

Community organizations, including the VFW and Auxiliary, American Legion and Auxiliary, Antioch Junior Women's Club, Antioch Lions, 885 Club, The Moose, the Yost Family, village of Antioch Trustee Mary Dominiak, and many others all financially contributed to the evening.

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